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Grace College and Seminary 
Winona Lake, IN 46590 

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land Theological 





Winona Lake, Indiana 44590 

Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio 

Spring, 1974 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 


Spring, 1974 


Introduction to the Current Issue 

The Editor ---------- 2 

Acquisition and Care of an Archaeological Collection 

Robert H. Smith, Ph.D. ------- 3 

The Robert Houston Smith Archaeological 
Collection of Ashland Theological Seminary 
Delbert B. Flora, S.T.M. 

Introduction - - - 18 

Abbreviations -------- 16 

The Collection -------- 16 

Editorial Committee: Owen H. Alderfer, editor 

Joseph N. Kickasola 
Joseph R. Shultz, Vice President 

Vol. VII No. 1 

Published by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 

Introduction to the Current Issue 

THIS entire issue of the Ashland Theological Bulletin is 
devoted to the Robert Houston Smith Archaeological Col- 
lection of Ashland Theological Seminary. The story of how 
the objects were gathered, their care and classification, and 
of the decision to make them available to the seminary is Dr. 
Robert H. Smith's own story in the first article. Professor 
Delbert B. Flora picks up the account from there and reports 
the coming of the collection to the seminary, its present situa- 
tion there, and hopes for the future housing and use of the 

The largest portion of the issue is devoted to a presenta- 
tion of the collection itself. This appears in photographic ex- 
hibits with technical descriptions of the materials of the col- 
lection. The objects are arranged in chronological order in 
groupings according to forms and types. The presentation 
here is representative; it does not include the Smith Collection 
in its entirety. 

Credit for the bulk of the work for this issue goes to 
Delbert B. Flora. This includes the collection or writing of the 
articles, determination of objects to exhibit and how to arrange 
them, the arrangement of the descriptive material, and over- 
sight of the photography. 

Credit and special appreciation for the photographic work 
in the issue is due to Thomas H. Shiffler, Senior student at 
Ashland Theological Seminary and professional photographer 
for the Ashland Times-Gazette. Tom Shiffler spent hours 
arranging artifacts for the best photographic exhibition, 
working out optimum lighting, and caring for the technical 
details that make for excellent pictures. 

Owen H. Alderfer, Editor 

Contributors to this Issue 

Delbert B. Flora is Professor of New Testament and Archaeology 
at A. T. S. 

Robert Houston Smith is Associate Professor of Religion at the 
College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, and Chairman of the Humanities 
Division at that institution. A fellow of the American Schools of Oriental 
Research, Dr. Smith has been involved in extensive field work in Pales- 
tine and Jordan as participant and as director. His publications include 
books and articles in the fields of archaeology, Biblical studies, and 
religious studies. 

Acquisition and Care of an 
Archaeological Collection 

Robert H. Smith 

THE collection described in this Bulletin began one crisp 
day in the fall of 1958, soon after I arrived in Jordan to 
spend a year studying Palestinian archaeology at the American 
School of Oriental Research (now the Albright Institute of 
Archaeological Research) in Jerusalem. Although I had 
delved into archaeology as a graduate student at Yale, I had 
not yet dealt with Palestinian artifacts extensively at first 
hand. As I stepped into a dark cubbyhole on the Via Dolorosa 
that passed for a shop, I began my personal encounter with 
Palestine's ancient past. I could not have suspected then how 
far that acquaintance was to lead me. 

I looked over an assortment of jars and bowls with mild 
curiosity. I grew more fascinated when, at the dealer's invi- 
tation, I picked up some of the pieces and handled them. Soon 
I was examining each vessel with interest. I was most 
attracted by a number of small moulded clay lamps which dis- 
played a wide range of forms and decoration. When I found 
that most of the lamps were within a price range I could 
afford, I could not resist the temptation to buy a few as future 
teaching aids. I placed the lamps in a row and tried to decide 
which one or two were most representative. But the variety 
was too great, and I had no basis for preferring one over 
another. When I left I had under my arm a parcel containing 
not one or two but a dozen lamps, along with a few shallow 
bowls of various forms which were so plain that the dealer, 
probably despairing of finding a purchaser, had priced quite 
moderately ; these latter I assumed had no particular archaeo- 
logical importance but thought they might be useful for study. 

Almost every collector begins with the chance acquisition 
of one or more pieces which pique his curiosity, and I was 
no exception. When I examined my purchases at leisure, I 
realized that I wanted to know as much as I could about their 
ages and cultural contexts. Thus I began what became many 
hours of searching through archaeological reports and study- 

ing objects on display in Jerusalem's museums. The first 
identification was made only after lengthy search, but the 
second came a little more quickly, and the third still more 
rapidly. All cf the lamps were from the Hellenistic, Roman 
and Byzantine periods, and the range of types which I had 
arbitrarily selected proved to be a fairly good one. As I pro- 
gressed in my identifications, I found that my critical dis- 
crimination developed by leaps and bounds, so that I began 
to perceive interrelations among lamp types. The small group 
of lamps was already serving the most important single func- 
tion a collection can serve — unless one considers sheer aes- 
thetic enjoyment to be above all other benefits — and that is 
the function of helping a student to learn a discipline more 
rapidly and thoroughly than he otherwise could. 

The element of excitement and joy which the process of 
discovery entailed was intense. Interestingly, the greatest 
single moment of satisfaction from this group of artifacts 
came in the study of one of the shallow bowls. The form had 
only a few diagnostic features — an incurving rim and a flat- 
tened base, rather fine clay and no remaining slip at all. At 
first the problem seemed to be that it somewhat resembled 
bowls of several periods — but only somewhat. I found good 
parallels in the pottery of the Middle Bronze Age but at first 
discounted these on the assumption that the dealer would not 
have sold me a bowl of such antiquity for such a modest price. 
In time, however, I exhausted the archaeological literature 
and was forced to the recognition that the bowl was indeed 
of Middle Bronze date, and therefore some 3,700 years old. 
My pleasure at having solved the problem was excelled only 
by my delight in the antiquity of the vessel. 

This discovery represented a turning point for me. I re- 
mained respectful of antiquity, but I was no longer awed 
by age. No longer was I on one side of the fence and the ma- 
terials of archaeology on the other ; we were both on the same 
side now, touching and — as it were — talking with one another. 
I realized that, though I had a vast amount yet to learn, 
I could begin to trust my critical judgment in a limited way. 
And so it was that from the beginning the collection 
was intimately bound up with my own development as an 

I have described the beginning of my collection in some 
detail because it illustrates a fact of archaeology, namely, that 

one cannot really become knowledgeable about artifacts unless 
one works directly with them — looks at, handles and analyzes 
them — until form, weight, texture, coloration and countless 
subtle aspects of their very nature become an intimate part 
of one's store of information. It is for this reason that students 
of Palestinian archaeology who cannot themselves all go to 
Israel to learn archaeology are richly served if they can have 
the experience of seeing, touching and attempting to identify 
actual ancient artifacts. After all, a love affair can be carried 
on from a distance for only so long; the time must come — 
and the sooner the better — when the participants must get 
to know one another in their totality, at close range, and for 
prolonged periods. 

A second phase in collecting comes about when the nas- 
cent collector begins to be aware of some glaring gaps in his 
assemblage, and seeks to fill them. Of course, there is rarely 
any end to such an undertaking; but the collector seldom 
thinks that far ahead, so deeply rooted his passion for order- 
liness. I went to ether antiquities shops in Jerusalem and con- 
stantly found pieces that were important for my collection. 
My range of interest came to include more and more kinds of 
material remains from antiquity: coins, weapons, jewelry, 
cult objects ... in short, anything of merit that shed light 
on ancient Palestinian life. I continued to have a particular 
interest in oil lamps, and made a special effort to obtain a 
wide range of Palestinian types of all periods. Although I 
decided early to restrict my purchases of artifacts largely to 
Palestine (with seme Transjordanian pieces added for com- 
parison), I allowed my selection of lamps to branch out to 
Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Cyprus, Asia Minor, North Africa 
and occasionally elsewhere, as subsequent travels permitted, 
in order that some of the cultural interconnections among the 
lands of the eastern Mediterranean region might be indicated. 

As is always the case with collecting, one is sometimes 
offered items that exceed one's purse, and I regret having had 
to forego some fine pieces because the prices were too high. 
Inevitably there were also some pieces that I failed to appre- 
ciate sufficiently when they were available, and so let them 
pass into other hands. I recall receiving a telephone call one 
day from a dealer, rather prone to overenthusiasm concerning 
his merchandise, who informed me that he had just gotten 
a vessel which had a face on it. I suspected that the "face" 

was nothing more than some crude, accidental lumps or 
scratches, and let a few days pass before I visited his shop. 
When I did pay him a visit, I was told that the vessel had been 
sold to a certain person known to me as a frequent purchaser 
of quality antiquities. It was not until two years later, when 
leafing through a popular French archaeological magazine, 
that I saw prominently illustrated a fine Chalcolithic bowl 
which was said to be a recent aquisition by a museum with 
which this same person was known to have had connections. 
The bowl did indeed have a well-defined face in relief on one 
side — a most unusual and museum worthy object. I have little 
doubt that this was the vessel which I had been offered. I was 
consoled in this loss, however, by the thought that even if I 
had obtained the bowl the Jordanian Department of Antiq- 
uities, which had to examine and approve each item that I 
collected before I could send it to the United States, would 
most surely have claimed it for the national museum of Jor- 
dan ; and that would have been appropriate in a region which 
has lost more than its share of its patrimony to western 

By the end of the summer of 1959 the collection had 
grown to much of its ultimate size, but some additions were 
made during subsequent trips which I made to Jordan through 
1965. By that time I had decided to bring acquisitions to a halt, 
even though — or, perhaps I should say, because — I knew that 
there would always be more specimens which I would like to 
obtain in order to continue to balance and enrich the collec- 
tion. Furthermore, by that time the major original purpose 
of the collection, that of its educational benefit to me, had long 
been achieved. It was just as well, since in 1967 the institu- 
tion where I was teaching, The College of Wooster, commenced 
archaeological excavations at Pella in Jordan under my direc- 
tion, and I would not have wanted to be involved with the pur- 
chase of antiquities while associated with a program of field 

Even as I was bringing the acquisition of items to a close 
I had expectations of enjoying the collection in my home and 
utilizing its contents in teaching. By this time, however, the 
items in it numbered over 1,200, exclusive of a study group 
of pottery which I had earlier given to The College of Wooster, 
a few pieces which I had given to friends, and some small 
items that had gotten misplaced over the years. I eventually 

was compelled to realize that to exhibit all, or even most, of 
the collection effectively would require a battery of display 
cases, something which I could not realistically provide in any 
home that I might live in. And so it was that I entered the 
final stage of the classical pattern of collecting, that of seeking 
a suitable permanent repository for the materials which I had 

The rest of the story — how, when I informed Professor 
Delbert Flora about the existence of the collection and my 
decision to dispose of it, he alerted Dean Joseph R. Shultz and 
together the two men, aided by other interested faculty mem- 
bers, marshalled forces which ultimately brought about the 
purchase of the collection by Ashland College for its Theo- 
logical Seminary — that story is as much Ashland's to tell as 
mine. All I can say is that I have enjoyed my contacts with 
the College immensely, and am delighted that the collection 
now has a permanent home in an atmosphere which is so well 
suited to it. I look forward with interest to the proposed con- 
struction of a building on the Seminary grounds, in one hall 
of which the collection can be displayed in a context related 
to the classroom program of the Seminary. 

It is not a novel procedure for an educational institution 
to obtain an entire collection of works of art or archaeology 
to serve as the nucleus of a specialized museum or display; 
indeed, the great museums of the world obtained most of their 
antiquities in this manner, rather than through the sponsoring 
of excavations. Collections of Biblical antiquities have occa- 
sionally found their way into museums in this country, though 
these collections are generally quite small — as, for example, 
the Palestinian pottery on display in the Detroit Museum. 
Best known among the larger purchased collections of this sort 
are those made under the supervision of John D. Whiting, late 
of the American Colony in Jerusalem. Among the half-dozen 
or so Whiting collections are ones in the museums of Yale 
University and the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Sem- 
inary. The last of these collections, completed around the end 
of World War II, remained in storage at the American Colony 
through Israel's war of independence and for some years 
thereafter, until, in the spring of 1959 it was purchased by the 
American University of Beirut for its archaeological museum. 

Now, collections of this sort often contain many pieces 
of beauty, and occasionally of rarity as well — features which 

make them effective museum pieces. But they generally dis- 
play deficiencies in their range. Their most noticeable limita- 
tion is perhaps that they consist almost entirely of pottery. 
Although, to be sure, pottery has been by far the commonest 
of Old World man's artifacts during the past several thousand 
years, it represents only a small part of the total culture of 
an ancient people. While much of that material culture has 
disappeared beyond all recovery, there is much more surviving 
than ceramics, as a visit to the Rockefeller Museum or Israel 
Museum in Jerusalem readily shows. Even, however, within 
the self-imposed limitation of pottery Biblical collections often 
show poor balance. Certain periods, such as Middle Bronze II 
and Iron I, tend to be represented in disproportionately large 
amounts, in part because the pottery displays well and in part 
because ceramics from these periods are relatively abundant. 
This imbalance is less serious if a museum limits its displays 
strictly to the Biblical periods, although even in such cases 
the collections are generally weak in pottery of the Persian, 
Hellenistic and Roman periods, all of which fall within the 
span of the Old and New Testaments. 

The collection which I assembled had not yet achieved 
the sort of balance which I might ideally have hoped for it to 
have, but I attempted to have as many periods represented as 
possible. The earliest artifacts are some stone implements of 
Palaeolithic man and some Mesolithic beads. For various 
reasons, not the least of which was extreme scarcity, the 
collection never came to include any Neolithic pottery. There 
are, however, some representative vessels from the succeeding 
period, the Chaloolithic, which were ferretted out of dark 
corners of dealers' shelves, to which they had doubtless been 
relegated because of their unprepossessing appearance. Ghas- 
sulian Chaloolithic is represented in the collection by a selec- 
tion of potsherds gathered at the site on a field trip. 

The Early Bronze Age pottery in the collection was like- 
wise assembled only with considerable effort, since for many 
years very little of that period came on the market in Jordan. 
When clandestine digging at Bab edh-Dhra' in the Lisan, 
beside the Dead Sea, began to yield great quantities of Early 
Bronze pottery, Jerusalem dealers were suddenly inundated, 
though only with the particular kinds of Early Bronze vessels 
distinctive to the Bab edh-Dhra' culture. The collection con- 
tains some representative vessels of both Bab edh-Dhra' and 
the more customary Early Bronze types. 


The Intermediate Bronze Age (as I call it; also known as 
Middle Bronze I and Intermediate Early Bronze-Middle 
Bronze) is represented by a selection of typical vessels, includ- 
ing - a large spouted jar which, because of its thinness of ware, 
was one of the very few casualties of shipment of the collection 
from Jordan to the United States, having arrived cracked. The 
artifacts of this short period in the collection are, as would be 
expected, mostly "caliciform" pottery, but there are also some 
beads and weapons. 

The Middle Bronze Age is represented by some ordinary 
as well as fine-ware vessels with red, brown and white slip. One 
of the most important pieces in the entire collection is a tall, 
handleless jar with red slip which dates from very early in the 
Middle Bronze Age (Middle Bronze I or Middle Bronze II A, 
depending upon one's terminology). Another notable vessel 
is a black-slip jug with punched, paste-filled dots on its ex- 
terior, executed in the famous Tel el-Yahudiyeh style. Also 
of interest is a small tomb-group of pottery, some of the pieces 
of which still retain a thick coating of soil and calcium car- 
bonate which was deposited as the vessels lay in a tomb of 
the 18th century B.C. in central Palestine. 

The groups of artifacts in three of the periods just men- 
tioned — Chalcolithic, Intermediate Bronze and Middle Bronze 
— are supplemented by a number of vessels or fragments of 
vessels from an excavation which I conducted at Khirbet Kufin 
in south-central Palestine in the spring of 1959. They were 
given to me at the conclusion of the field work by the American 
School of Oriental Research, one of the sponsors, and the De- 
partment of Antiquities of Jordan, the other sponsor, the latter 
having previously selected those artifacts from the excavation 
that it wished to retain for the national museum. I never re- 
garded this material as my own personal property, and 
consequently am pleased that it has now found a permanent 
home in an educational institution. Some of the forms in this 
group have considerable archaeological interest, even though 
most of the material is fragmentary. 

The Late Bronze Age, though more difficult to epitomize 
in a collection than is the preceding period, is represented by 
a number of characteristic jug forms, imported or local vessels 
in Cypriote style, painted bowls and jars, and jewelry. 
Although the pottery of this period is, on the whole, less hand- 

some than that of the Middle Bronze Age, it serves as an im- 
portant cultural link with the subsequent Iron Age, the transi- 
tion toward which can be detected in various ways. 

Iron I is likewise represented by some characteristic 
pieces, including nearly a dozen ceramic vessels plausibly said 
by the dealer to constitute a single tomb group. Typical small 
jugs appear in various shapes and colors. There are also some 
fine, rare necklaces of carnelian and other semi-precious 
stones. Iron II and the Persian period are more diverse in their 
contents; particularly so is the Persian period, the finding 
of artifacts from which proved (as one would expect) to be 
no easy task because of their scarcity and the difficulty of 
always being able to distinguish the artifacts of that period 
from ones of Iron II. Some characteristic pieces of these cen- 
turies do, however, appear in the collection. 

The Hellenistic period is one in which many collections 
of Palestinian artifacts are quite deficient. Fortunately sev- 
eral representative ceramic pieces, some of them perhaps 
imported to Palestine but most of them presumably manu- 
factured locally, form a part of the collection, including a rare 
(but once apparently common) two-handle jar. Also included 
are ceramic vessels having a certain kind of red slip which, in 
reducing atmosphere, partly fired black. By this period coins 
have become widespread, with the result that an important 
new dimension is added to archaeological data. The collection 
has a variety of coin types of this period, chiefly Ptolemaic 
and Seleucid. 

The Roman period, because it includes New Testament 
times, was one of special interest for this collection. The period 
is well represented by jewelry and coins. Specimens of fine 
Roman pottery are quite rare in Palestine other than as 
potsherds, so it was necessary to obtain an example of 
a moulded terra sigillata bowl from southern Syria; some 
imported red-slip ware was discovered at infrequent intervals 
and was promptly added to the collection. Local ware of 
Roman date was obtained somewhat more readily, and it was 
possible to include in the collection examples of the kinds of 
everyday pottery which were in use in Palestine during Jesus' 
life. Perhaps the most interesting single Roman-period arti- 
fact in the collection is an ossuary, or bone-container, which 
retains its carved front and some of its original bright yellow 


The Byzantine period, although one of increasing- popula- 
tion in Palestine, saw a reduction in the quantity and kind of 
vessels buried with the dead. Since most of the intact artifacts 
which come into dealer's hands come from tombs, this change 
of practice is reflected in the relative scarcity of certain kinds 
of Byzantine artifacts available. Commonest are small objects 
such as jewelry, lamps and miniature jars and jugs; rarest 
are regular-size vessels of table ware. These changing cus- 
toms are reflected in the Byzantine objects in the collection, 
which tend to be small. Even fewer burial objects were placed 
in graves during the Islamic periods which succeeded the 
Byzantine, with the result that the collection has only a few 
artifacts of Islamic date. Medieval culture, which is still 
poorly-known archaeologically, is likewise represented by only 
a few artifacts. 

As my earlier comments indicate the collection is richer 
in lamps than any other type of artifact. Although many of 
the lamps come from various regions of the eastern Mediter- 
ranean, the largest single group by far is from Palestine. 
Included are some seldom-found types, but many common 
lamps have intentionally been brought into the collection so 
that as complete a type-series as possible would be available 
for study. Even here s:me desired types did not become avail- 
able during the time the collection was being formed ; never- 
theless, it is possible to say that the present assemblage 
represents a more balanced series of lamp types than do those 
of most collections which have been made, apart from certain 
collections to be found within Israel. 

From the very beginning I maintained a card file on the 
contents of the collection. The earliest cards that I made, when 
collecting afforded the greatest educational value for me, were 
carefully typed ; on the front of each four-by-six inch card I 
placed such general information as might be suitable for a 
museum catalogue or label ; on the back I gave technical data, 
including references to archaeological parallels or other rele- 
vant literature. I must confess that as my competence in 
Palestinian archaeology grew, I became more lax in my 
descriptions and references, but I continued the basic system 
until the collection was finally closed. This card file has been 
photocopied and is now available to any serious student of the 
collection at Ashland, complete with all of the rather casually 
scrawled entries that identify the latest pieces which were 


added. The printed catalogue which appears in this issue of 
the Ashland Theological Bulletin, although for lack of space 
it cannot be so detailed as to permit individual entry for each 
of the artifacts, affords the prospective user of the collection 
a structured arrangement of the objects, and is therefore a 
most welcome adjunct to the collection itself. The effort which 
has been put into the preparation of this catalogue is a clear 
indication of the measure of continuing interest which Ashland 
College and Ashland Theological Seminary have in the collec- 
tion, and doubtless points to the time when it will play an even 
more integral role in the program of this Christian institution. 


The Robert Houston Smith 

Archaeological Collection 

of Ashland Theological Seminary 

Delbert B. Flora 


JN JUNE 1970 a letter from Dr. Robert Houston Smith, 
College of Wooster, brought me the news that he was ready 
to offer for sale his fine collection of Palestinian antiquities 
of about 1200 pieces. As soon as possible information was 
relayed to Dr. Joseph R. Shultz, Dean (now Vice President) 
of Ashland Theological Seminary, and Dr. Glenn L. Clayton, 
President of Ashland College and Seminary. An ad hoc com- 
mittee* was formed to discuss advisability, ways and means 
of the purchase. The net result was that on New Year's Day 
1971, Mrs. Flora and I were in the attic of the Smith home 
confronted with the intimidating task of wrapping and pack- 
ing hundreds of artifacts. Some large pieces were already in 
boxes and barrels, while small pieces were in a variety of small 
containers. All had to be accounted for. Faculty members 
responded to telephone calls and brought their cars from 
Ashland to Wooster for transportation of the whole lot which 
was then stored in a room of the Seminary library. 

Probably some background should be inserted here. It 
occurred in the course of change of administration of Ashland 
Theological Seminary that I was given a year's leave cf ab- 
sence for travel, study and archaeological experience in 
Palestine. Therefore, my wife and I became established at the 
American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem for the 
year 1963-64. During that winter we became acquainted with 
Dr. Smith who was associated with Dr. James B. Pritchard 

'* Members of the ad hoc Committee: Joseph R. Shultz, Dean of Ashland 
Theological Seminary, chairman; Alice Catherine Ferguson, Professor 
of Languages, Ashland College; Delbert B. Flora, Professor of Archaeo- 
logy, Ashland Theological Seminary; Louis F. Gough, Professor of 
New Testament, Ashland Theological Seminary; Robert S. Kinsey, 
Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Ashland; Harold A. Mielke, Pro- 
fessor of Business Administration, Ashland College. 


in the first excavation at Tel es-Saidiyeh. We saw him a num- 
ber of times at the American Schools of Oriental Research; 
in fact, we now believe we saw him in some of his activity of 
assembling the collection which is the subject of this article. 
After our return to the States the pleasant contacts continued 
from time to time at lectures and archaeological meetings. 
Perhaps this is why he said in his initial letter, "I naturally 
thought at once of you because of your long-standing interest 
in Palestinian archaeology and Ashland's concern with the 
world of the Bible," 

During the extended stay in Jerusalem, and in previous 
visits, the antiquities of Bible history had become more and 
more fascinating and significant for me. Between field trips 
and some excavation, a good many visits were made to the 
Rockefeller Museum for study and photography of objects on 
display. A whole new dimension of Bible study and under- 
standing began to appear. After considerable inquiry I was 
permitted to bring home a small collection of my own and to 
send a few pieces back to the Seminary. Therefore, Dr. Smith's 
offer to dispose of his collection was exciting for it opened up 
a great new area of possibility of service by ATS to students 
and the church community of Ashland. This feeling was shared 
by Dr. Shultz, faculty members who were available for con- 
sultation at the time of year, and by friends in the community. 
Consequently the purchase was planned and consummated by 
means of the great good will and generosity of administration, 
faculty and friends near and far. 

Since the time of its transfer the collection has resided 
in the same boxes and barrels in a small archives room, al- 
though from time to time a few pieces have been dug out for a 
lecture or for temporary exhibit. It almost immediately became 
apparent that, despite Dr. Smith's meticulous cataloguing of 
the materials, the hurried packing and the too unorganized and 
crowded means of storage had made necessary a complete in- 
ventory for file and storage purposes. In the spring of 1973 
this problem was laid before Dr. Shultz, and as a result of the 
conference the decision was made to proceed with inventory 
and also to make a report in the Ashland Theological Bulletin 
of 1974. 

The report is meant to be informational and not technical. 
Moreover, as Dr. Smith has said in his article, ". . . for lack 
of space it cannot be so detailed as to permit individual entry 


of the artifacts in the collection." Nevertheless it is intended 
to "afford the prospective user ... a structural arrangement 
of the objects." It is hoped that within two years new space 
will be available for proper exhibit of the whole assemblage 
along with storage and laboratory space for work of restora- 
tion and conservation. It may be added parenthetically that 
some articles have been cleaned, but that some of the pottery 
is in much the same condition as when it came from the 

The inventory revolves around photography to comple- 
ment Dr. Smith's card file. Each piece (coins excepted) is 
being photographed in full frame. Photographs of 4 x 5 inch 
size will be labelled with the original registry numbers and 
placed in file drawers in registry sequence. This arrangement 
is supplemented with inventory file sheets for correlation of 
photographs and negatives. Of course, rewrapping, marking 
and repacking follows the checking and photography. 

The method of this report will be an endeavor to provide 
an analysis of the collection by means of categories according 
to various natures such as archaeological periods, type, form, 
material, provenance, etc. There may be some reference to a 
rather miscellaneous group. The archaeological periods repre- 
sented include almost everything from the Palaeolithic to the 
Islamic, even to the divisions of the Bronze and Iron ages. Dr. 
Smith's dating and terminology of periods will be used as 
much as has been determined by study of his catalogue. Other 
representations include bronzes, coins, glass, jewelry, a corpus 
from Khirbet Kufin, lamps, seals, stone objects and weights. 
Attempts to indicate the numbers of items in the categories 
will be considerably compromised by factors such as unclear 
period distinctions in some cases, in others reluctance to iden- 
tify dating, and again because of cross references of relation- 
ships. The categories will be illustrated by means of photo- 
graphs of representative groups along with some description 
based on the Smith catalogue notes. The original catalogue 
registry numbers will be placed in the text immediately follow- 
ing the names of the objects. Photographs will be labelled 
Plate A, Plate B, etc., and Plate AA, Plate BB, etc. 



ASOR — American Schools of Oriental Research 

ATS — Ashland Theological Seminary 

Byz — Byzantine 

C — Century 

EB — Early Bronze Age 

EI — Early Iron Age 

IntB — Intermediate Bronze Age 

Iron I — Iron I Age 

Iron II — Iron II Age 

Iron III — Iron III Age 

LB — Late Bronze Age 

LI — Late Iron Age 

MB — Middle Bronze Age 

MB I —Middle Bronze I Age 

MB II —Middle Bronze II Age 

MB III —Middle Bronze III Age 

Pers — Persian Age 

Rom — Roman Age 

The Collection 

The Palaeolithic Period, - 8000 B.C. 
There are two pieces representative of this period, Plate 
A, a large hand-axe (222) and a blade (257), both of flint. 
They are crudely worked and are of Palaeolithic type. The 
axe is considerably patinated on one side. They were found 
by Dr. Smith on the mesa south across from Qumran. 

The Mesolithic Period, 8000 - 5500 B.C. 
Two examples may be from this period; however since 
there is some doubt about one, only one is being counted at 
this time, and it is shown in PLATE B. These restrung beads 
(761) are white shells, cylindrical in shape, but tapering. They 
are very similar to some which were found in the Natufian re- 
mains at Mugharet el- Wad at Mt. Carmel. 




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The Neolithic Period, 5000 - 4000 B.C. 

The five flints and two celts in Plate C are 
examples from this period. Dr. Smith picked up the flints 
(422) near the spring and pools north of ancient Jerash, 
Jordan. The large one at the right end of the bottom row is 
a "core" from which other flints have been chipped. The one 
at the left end seems to have been an arrowhead which was 
rejected before it was finished. The other flints show signs 
of use but were at best only improvised implements. 

The two celts in the middle of the bottom row are well 
smoothed and are very ancient artifacts. The left one (684) 
is of green stone, the other (675) of black stone. 

The Chalcolithic Period, 4000 - 3000 B.C. 

There are seven articles from this period in the collection. 
Two are shown in Plate D. The beads (762) are disc-shaped 
carnelian stone. They have a patination and an encrustation 
which is not found on later beads ; also there is a lack of high 
polish. The rather crudely shaped bowl (790) is nevertheless 
of good lines. It seems to have been found on one of the Jebels 
of Amman, Jordan. 

Additional representation of this period is shown in 
Plate E. These sherds (365) and flints are a selection from 
a larger number which are from Teleilat Ghassul, east of the 
Jordan River and just north of the Dead Sea. 


Plate C 

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The Early Bronze Age, 3000 - 2100 B.C. 

Forty-four numbers of the collection are accredited to 
the Early Bronze Age. In this list is a rather widespread 
variety of objects, including bowls, jars, cups, jugs, flints, 
maceheads, lamps, beads and necklaces. There are two tomb 
groups of which one is shown in Plate F. This body of small 
vessels (354-364), although not turned on a wheel, is fairly 
well shaped. The simple forms are not at all the best that could 
be done by the EB potters, but they may be considered as 
typical of fairly humble pottery of that time. 

Plate G is a rather good representation of the different 
EB forms or types in the collection. The ceramics of the photo 
group are all of rather heavy to heavy clay. The heavy bowl 
or plate (714), about ten and one half inches in diameter, 
apparently once had buff slip. The ladle (712), having what 
appears to be a bird-head handle, came from Bab ed-Dhra', 
east of the Dead Sea. The juglet (267) is well shaped and 
attractive. Some pictures and bas-reliefs in Egypt portray 
the Pharaoh smashing heads of his enemies in battle with just 
such an instrument as this white limestone macehead (775) 
in the center of the picture. The jar (234), pitcher (434) and 
"canteen" (420) were made without use of the fast wheel. 
Ledge-handle jars are recognized as a hall-mark of the 
Chalcolithic and EB periods ; however the neat shape of this 
one (upper right) will place it in the latter period. 


The Intermediate Bronze Age, 2100 - 1900 B.C. 

Dr. Smith defines this period as lying- between the EB 
and MB Ages and assigns to it the absolute dating shown here. 
About 18 items of the collection lie within this period. They 
are jars, cups, sherds, scarabs, bronzes, lamps and beads. The 
ceramics are represented by the group in Plate H. The large 
jar (225) is about 15 inches in height. It comes from the time 
when the shift was being made from the EB to the MB. Band 
combing provides decoration on the shoulder and at the base 
of the neck, while crimped ridges are set obliquely on opposite 
sides of the body. Moving clockwise, the cylindrically shaped 
cup (771) is from the vicinity of Hebron. It has a heavy brown 
slip which is a rarity in this period. The four-corner lamp 
(743) is a good representation of the particular form, al- 
though somewhat damaged. This kind of lamp did not long 
persist in use. Next, the "caliciform" jar and two cups (226- 
228) are taken together because they seem to have come from 
the same tomb, and could have come from the same potter's 
wheel. The ware still resembles EB ware to a considerable 
extent, with flat base, squat shape and rough texture. Finally, 
the cup (777) at the upper left has parallels with Syrian "tea- 
pot ware," because of its rim, ribbing, base, ware and over-all 


The Middle Bronze I Age, 1900 - 1750 B.C. 

Only 13 articles are identified as coming from subdivision 
I of the Middle Bronze Age. These are juglets, vases, bronzes, 
scarabs and pots. Some of the bronzes and scarabs will appear 
later in this publication. In Plate I three items of pottery are 
shown. The large, squat teapot (770) with a broad flat base, 
somewhat damaged, still bears the encrustation it had when 
it was removed from the tomb. Its body was shaped by hand, 
whereas the neck and rim were wheel made. Its provenance is 
between Bethlehem and Hebron. The form of the juglet (345) 
on the right is truly MB I : roundish body, wide at the middle, 
the attachment of the lower end of the handle, the ridge clear 
around the neck at the upper end of the handle, and the flat 
base. The handsome vase (219) on the left is rare. It repre- 
sents a form used at the beginning of the MB age, then 
dropped. It has a red slip characteristic of MB I. 


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The Middle Bronze II Age, 1750 - 1500 B.C. 

The number cf registrations in this section rises dramati- 
cally to 85 pieces. Consequently, as may be expected, the vari- 
ety of forms and types is greater and all the more interesting. 
Here are piriform juglets, carinated bowls and vases, footed 
bowls, Tel el-Yehudiyeh juglets, dipper forms, large store jars, 
some bronzes, beads, lamps and stone objects. 

In Plate J are nine representative articles of pottery. 
In the top diagonal row are three jugs, one large and two 
small, all with taper bottoms. The large one (290) shows 
the same good form that most MB ware does and so is typical. 
Of the next one (346) to the right, its "narrow neck, graceful 
form and originally fine red-brown slip show it to belong to 
the Middle Bronze ceramics at their height," so writes Smith 
on the registry card. To the right of that and lower is a jug 
(303) of special interest because there is a snake running up 
the handle. The motif may be primarily decorative, however 
it may also be cultic in significance. The break-away of the 
mouth of the vessel also took away the head of the snake. 
Immediately below the large jug is a beautiful footed bowl 
(209) of typical form for this period. The clay is a buff pink, 
although the vessel was originally covered with a rich white 
slip. Just below is a black Tel el-Yehudiyeh juglet (218) 
decorated with a geometric design pricked into the clay and 
the holes filled with white paste. Such ware is usually asso- 
ciated with the Hyksos and Syria may be the place of origin. 
Next to the right is a cylindrically shaped juglet (214) 
said to have come from Jerusalem. Farther right is a 
carinated bowl (215) with some of the original white slip 
preserved. Immediaetly below is a white burnished footed bowl 
(216), which is an unusually fine specimen of the late MB 
ware. We have nicknamed it the Canaanite candy dish, The 
last piece to the right is a bowl (352) decorated with horizon- 
tal black lines with zigzag lines between. 

Two large store jars are in the MB II section. Plate K 
shows a two-handle store jar (444X) which is ovoid in shape. 
Some restoration has been done on this vessel. It has a plain 
flaring rim, strong handles, and tapers to just a hint of a flat 
base. In Plate L is depicted the largest piece in the collection, 
a handleless store jar (741) which is 30!/2 inches in height, 















Representatives of an MB II tomb group (379-402) 
appear in Plate M. This deposit which totaled 33 identifiable 
pieces and now numbers 24 in the collection, was published 
by Dr. Smith in the Annual of the Department of Antiquities 
of Jordan 1970. ] The deposit was found by a Jordanian farmer 
in 1958 in a tomb on his property on the eastern slope of the 
M:,unt of Olives. A partial collapse of the ceiling had damaged 
most of the vessels, shattering some of them, and a thick 
encrustation of calcium carbonate covered them. Of the 33 
pieces Smith considered 25 sufficiently intact to warrant illus- 
tration in his article, but he described all thirty three. The 
forms indicate that they ccme from the height of MB II, and 
that the date would be seventeenth century B.C. 

present a photograph of six of these vessels, starting 
with the top row and moving left to right. First is a beautiful 
pedestal bowl (379) with a gracefully flaring rim. Then a 
bowl (398) which has no slip preserved. The two intact base- 
ring juglets (386, 385) are "little masterpieces of highland 
Palestine pottery." After these is a button-base juglet (389), 
on the wire stand, which still retains some of its original burn- 
ish. Last is a cylinder-shaped juglet (395) which has traces 
of slip and must have been originally white. 




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The Late Bronze Age, 1500 - 1200 B.C. 

About 32 artifacts are registered in this period, without 
a sharply defined effort to emphasize its subdivisions. Con- 
siderable variety is to be found in this segment of the collec- 
tion, such as characteristic bowls, lamps, jugs, pots, beads, 
figurines, bronzes and foreign types, some locally made and 
others imported, among them being Cypriote and Mycenaen 
wares. Some of the bronzes and beads will be presented later 
in the article. 

Plate N portrays nine vessels. The topmost one is a 
rather large four-handle pot (296) of buff ware, probably 
used for storage rather than for cooking. The disk base would 
not have been conducive to this use, and there is no sign of 
burning on the vessel. Its base indicates its capability of stand- 
ing on a flat surface and the handles are of a form which 
suggests that the pot could be suspended from a ceiling. In 
the next row down, the single-handled jug (334) is described 
as Cypriote and is distinctive of LB in Palestine. The type 
seems to have come from the island of Cyprus. The body tips 
toward the handle because the shape of the jug descended from 
an early form made of leather and hollow reed. The two-handle 
jug (757) is most interesting in lines and retains part of its 
red slip. In the row of three, the bowl (332) at the left and 
the footed bowl (331) at the very bottom of the photograph 
are companion pieces. They have the same pink slip and con- 
centric bands of red and black on the interior surfaces, and 
must have come from the same tomb. The pot (288) in the 
very center is a good example of what is called chocolate on 
white ware. The name derives from the fact of its cream 
colored slip with brown painted decoration on it. This is one 
of the most distinctive pottery types of the LB period. The 
jug (284), the farthest to the right, has several fine features 
preserved from the earlier period: the carinated body, the 
bifide handle which is attached below the rim. It has a light 
brown, vertically burnished slip. On the wire stand by the 



scale is a simple, graceful juglet (294) which carries over a 
form of the MB II period with some modification, with the 
result that it is a well-proportioned vessel. The decorated bowl 
(285) to the right is a specimen of the wishbone handle milk 
bowl, so called because of the white slip and shape of the 
handle. Although this piece is classed with Mycenaen ware, 
it derives from Cyprus. 

In Plate is a flat clay figurine (430) of a goddess. 
The clay is buff-white and very hard. Although this kind of 
figure is not very common, it is well known and may have 
come from North Syria, with its original sources lying in 
Mesopotamia in the fourth-third millennia B.C. It probably 
represents some Canaanite goddess akin to Astarte. 

The Iron I Age, 1200 - 1000/900 B.C. 
About thirty pieces comprise the Iron I Age division of 
the collection. These are jugs, decanters, weights, bowls, 
lamps, jars, bottles, beads and seals. As a part of this lot, there 
is a tomb group containing some very good pieces. Upon turn- 
ing to Plate P, there may be seen eight items of some variety. 
At the top of the photograph is a round bottom decanter (264) 
which has its origins in Cypriote ware bottles made, it is 
supposed, of leather and hollow reeds, picked up by a leather 
strap tied around the body and neck of the vessel. It also shows 
the background of fine workmanship of the better LB ware. 
The bowl (450) at the left end of the second row is of a simple 
graceful shape, with no trace of slip remaining. At the right 
in the same row is a very well made jug (263) , with a slightly 
convex base. It shews its ancestry in its strap handle. In the 
next row of three pieces, the strainer (442) is an unusual 
one in that the handle is horizontal rather than vertical. The 
artifact is of generally fine quality, and should be dated early 
in the Iron Age soon after the LB. Midway of the row is a 
small dish (265) made of mottled green stone. The head on 
one side is that of the Egyptian goddess Hathor. This is prob- 
ably a cosmetic dish, and likely from the region of the ancient 
city of Samaria. At the right end is a small bowl (457) , nicely 
burnished. At the left in the last row is another bowl (463) 
of typical form without slip or burnishing. At the right in 
the last row is a bottle (375) of buff clay, light slip and dark 
banding painted around the neck and shoulder. It is unusual 
in its lack of a handle, for most Palestinian pottery has hand- 
les, if it is at all feasible. 



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A tomb group (269-279) is shown in Plate Q. The pot- 
tery is typically Judean and can be dated to about the eleventh 
century B.C. These burial deposits help us to envision the 
economic status of a relatively substantial member of the 
community. This sort of pottery would have been the kind 
that Saul and David were accustomed to seeing in the hill 
country. The most interesting is the little bowl with rows of 
holes punched in the side (273). It appears to be an incense 
burner, although this is not certain as yet. The larger jug 
(275), at the right end of the second row from the top, is a 
very well made piece, with red slip, horizontal black stripes 
and slightly convex base. The larger lamp (276), left in the 
middle row, is oversized and unusual in form, with affinities 
leading back to LB forms. 


The Iron II Age, 1000/900 - 586 B.C. 

Of this period, the time of the Hebrew monarchies, there 
are about 47 numbers recorded in the collection. Again there 
is a rather broad representation of artifacts and pottery, 
which includes cooking ware, pitchers, jugs, chalices, an 
Astarte figurine, bottles, bowls, plates, lamps, decanters, 
bronzes, weights, cosmetic dishes, gold foil strip and an assort- 
ment of seeds, pits, charcoal and bones from a fire-bed. Some 
of these will be set forth later in this catalogue. 

Plates R and S help to make real the materials and 
period of Iron II Age. In Plate R are nine articles. Reading 
downward and left to right, the largest piece is a hole mouth 
jar (729), about 13 inches in height. This jar is heavy and 
strong, but its coiling was done rather crudely. The strainer 
juglet (742) has a round bottom and a rather short spout. 
Because of this it may be related to Iron I Age, thus early in 
Iron II. The two-handle cooking pot (241) is of more pleasing 
shape than many of the Iron Age. It embodies typical elements 
of later Iron Age cooking pots. Passing to the middle row, the 
first vessel is an 8*4 mcn jug" (242) or pitcher. It has some 
red slip and the bottom is bowed, somewhat convex. This type 
never stands flat, but tips a little. In the center is a water 
decanter (327), a specimen of a very typical form of the 
period. Water jugs of this shape were made in a variety of 
sizes, some containing several gallons and others only a small 
amount. A high-footed bowl or dish (258) completes the row. 
Usually called a chalice, this vessel seemed not to have been 
used as a drinking cup, but as some other kind of container. 
The row of two has a bowl (268) on the left and a small plate 
(261) on the right. The last object in the picture is a cosmetic 
dish (769) of gypsum. While it probably is of the eighth cen- 
tury B.C., it has a floral decoration on the sides whose motif 
occurs as early as about 1500-1300 B.C. in Egypt and spread 
widely to Assyria and Greece. 


In Plate S a crude and startling "Astarte" figurine 
(247) appears, made by hand, but the face shaped by pressing 
the clay into a mould, with protruding breasts supported and 
presented by the hands. The back is flat and unfinished thus 
indicating that the piece was made to stand against a wall. 
The figure is that of the Mother Goddess, known in Biblical 
times as Astarte, just the kind of figure against which the 
Old Testament prophets preached frequently and vigorously. 

Some pieces from a tomb group are seen in Plate T. 
Quoting from the registry card : "These are but some of the 
more interesting pieces [i.e., from the tomb]. The large red 
pitcher (335) follows a standard Iron Age form, but is some- 
what unusual in its large size [eight inches]. The two juglets 
(337, 339) with two handles, the upper part of the necks miss- 
ing in both cases, are a type of vessel which developed out of 
certain Cypriote juglets in use during the previous two cen- 
turies. Both preserve traces of black bands of paint at the 
top and bottom of the bulbous body." This group is from 




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Pi \te S 1 


The Iron III Age, Persian Period, 586 - 330 B.C. 

In his introduction Dr. Smith has said that the finding 
of objects from this period was a difficult task "because of 
their scarcity and the difficulty of always being- able to dis- 
tinguish the artifacts of that period from ones of Iron II." 
Approximately fifteen articles are in the collection from this 
part of Intertestament times. Juglets, jugs, bottles, bronzes, 
seals, sherds and beads are to be found in this section. Some 
will appear on later pages, but Plate U introduces us to a few 
numbers. Reading clockwise, a rather large piriform jug 
(371) appears at the top of the picture. It has heavy, drab 
clay and a flaring body, and is fairly typical of much of the 
pottery of the Late Iron Age. Such vessels were usually part 
of a tomb deposit. Then comes a small piriform jug (248), 
carefully made of fine buff clay, possibly not made in Pal- 
estine, but rather in Cyprus. At the bottom of the picture is 
another juglet (256) which is quite typical of the Iron Age, 
but the pressing of the handle close to the body calls for a 
Late Iron date. The next juglet (249) is a companion piece 
of the one diagonally across from it (248) and has the same 
diagonostic features. Finally the painted jug (220), called a 
lekythos and from Athens, is very similar to ones imported 
into Palestine. Its date is about the fifth century B.C. 






The Hellenistic Period, 330 - 63 B.C. 

Out of this second part of the Intertestament period there 
are approximately 23 pieces in the collection. Although it may 
be true that many collections of Palestinian artifacts are de- 
ficient in the Hellenistic Age, this section is relatively well 
represented by characteristic bottles, bowls, jugs, perfume 
bottles, bronzes, jewelry and lamps. The ceramics are repre- 
sented by a group pictured in Plate V. In clockwise reading, 
the first one at the top is a good example of spindle-bottles 
(251), sometimes called "fusiform unguentaria," used for 
precious liquids. This one belongs to about mid-second century 
B.C. to 63 B.C. Next, the large graceful, two-handle jar (715) 
plainly shows signs of its manufacture and is considered 
quite rare. The bowl (313) with the rather prominent base 
and gently curving rim and bright red slip is beautiful in both 
shape and color. It is an excellent piece which belongs to a 
date of about the first century B.C. At the bottom of the photo- 
graph is an intriguing little bowl (305), decorated with an 
incised net pattern. It has a rich red slip which approaches 
glaze in quality. The provenance is possibly coastal Syria. 
Continuing clockwise movement we come to a red-glaze jug 
(301), partly fired black. The base is a flat disc. Last is a 
slender-neck jug (302), referred to as a lagynos, widely used 
in the Hellenistic world in the second century B.C. This one 
probably was imported into Palestine. 


The Roman Period, 63 B.C. - A.D. 323 

Robert Smith has said, "The Roman Period, because it 
includes New Testament times, was one of special interest 
for this collection." This section of approximately 68 pieces, 
containing a wide variety of objects, is clearly in harmony 
with the sentiment of his statement. It includes many lamps 
(of which only a few are counted in the 68), jugs, cooking- 
pots, glass, unguentaria, bronzes, bowls, sherds, a consider- 
able amount of jewelry, made up of necklaces, gems and gold, 
and an ossuary. 

In Plate W we begin with clockwise movement at the 
topmost article and note a graceful cooking-pot (306) of hard, 
metallic ware just right for use over an open fire. The sharply 
indrawn shoulder, topped by the rim and handles, would pre- 
vent spillage. A small bowl (851) is next, a good example of 
Roman moulded terra sigillata ware, this one from southern 
Syria, finished off with a hard red glaze. Following that 
is a jug (304) of unusual shape. The very wide mouth imme- 
diately attracts attention. This and some other features seem 
to indicate a descent from Hellenistic forms. Now comes a soft 
limestone mug (464) , with sides pared. It must be a measuring 
cup, for a set of exactly such vessels in graduated sizes is dis- 
played in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and labelled as 
measuring cups. A rimless bottle (472) of red clay and cov- 
ered with a white slip stands next to the measuring cup. It 
could have been used for either oil or perfume. Located at the 
left is a carefully manufactured plate (312) which has a thick 
red slip. The form has been found chiefly at Qumran. Next 
there are two companion pieces, a bowl (324) and a jug (325) 
both of fine material and good craftsmanship. They represent 
Roman ware in its better forms. Because the jug has a mouth 
wide enough, it could have been used for cooking, if desired. 
Upon going to the center of the picture, two articles are noted, 
the left one a very light-weight clay unguentarium (466) 
which belongs to the first century A.D., and a piriform bottle 


It is apropos to quote from Dr. Smith's introduction 
again at this point: "Perhaps the most interesting single 
Roman-period artifact in the collection is an ossuary, a bone- 
container, which retains its carved front and some of its 
original bright yellow paint." This ossuary (756) appears in 
Plate X. It was found at a point where Kidron valley and 
the road to Bethlehem cross (pre-1967). It can be dated to 
about 30 B.C. - A.D. 70, thus fairly contemporary with Jesus. 
From one block of soft white limestone the manufacturer (s) 
carved a nicely finished product, on which someone later 
scratched Greek letters in the upper right corner of the front 
which seem to read AKTE. Apparently the receptacle was 
once used for a collector of human bones, for three teeth are 
still embedded in the mineral deposit in the bottom. 


The Byzantine Period, A.D. 323 - 636 

Although the Byzantine Period was a time of growing 
population in Palestine, it was also a time of a smaller number 
and poorer quality of funerary deposits ; nevertheless the col- 
lection numbers about 47 articles for this time. Some changes 
in symbolism are noticeable, the Cross and Chi-Rho motifs 
beginning to appear and develop. The catalogue shows 
bronzes, lamps, jugs, glass, pitchers, bottles, a reliquary, 
gems, jewelry, weights, amulets and sherds. Some lamps, 
bronzes and jewelry will appear farther along in this article. 

We turn to Plate Y and continue the clockwise direction 
of inspection. First is a resetted jar (326) , mostly red in color. 
This seems to be an unusual type of vessel, the form suggest- 
ing Roman influence, but the mould-formed rosettes lead to 
Byzantine dating. Large white grits and mica are in the clay. 
The little marble reliquary (372) once contained some kind 
of Christian relics, and possibly was deposited in a wall or 
the floor of a church. It looks much like a minature sarco- 
phagus. Next to the reliquary stands a graceful little vase 
(317), thin-walled and with indented sides. Left of that are 
several fragments of a fine colored floor mosaic (711). They 
illustrate the rich color and fine detail which characterized 
the better mosaics of the Byzantine period. These fragments 
have come from the western slope of the Mount of Olives, 
where there were many monasteries during Byzantine pros- 
perity. A graceful ornate juglet (474) has unusual spiral 
work around the neck. Farther up and last is another juglet 
(315) with a shape which shows Roman origins, and carries 
a little more grace than most Byzantine forms. It is to be dated 
early in the Byzantine or late in the Roman period. 


The Islamic - Medieval Period, A.D. 636 — 

As the number of burial deposits declined during Byzan- 
tine times, even fewer such deposits were made during the 
Islamic periods. Medieval culture is not yet well known 
archaeologically in Palestine; therefore there are cnly a few 
representations in the collection from these periods, number- 
ing about six articles of definite dating. There are several 
rather nondescript pieces which can hardly be given serious 
consideration at the present. Plate Z shows several pieces. 
Again moving with the sweep of the clock, the one at the top 
is a jug (411) from about the ninth-tenth century. It has 
moulded upon it an inscription in very ornate Arabic calli- 
graphy which has been translated to read, "Drink in the air 
[or: love?] after having a rest, if you please." Then comes a 
rather cumbersome and graceless lamp (930) from Iran, of 
about the twelfth-thirteenth century. A very small bronze lamp 
(899) , with hinged cover, also comes from Iran. Farther to the 
left is a painted jug (369) , which is characteristic of a class of 
ware which was in use in Palestine during the twelfth to the 
fifteenth centuries. It has an ochre clay body and geometric 
decoration in a purple tone. This piece is distinctively Arabic, 
although it may overlap the Crusader period. One more arti- 
cle is shown, a bowl (368) which carries ribbing character- 
istic of Byzantine ware. There are very horizontal handles 
which could easily be broken off. The dating is early Islamic, 
of about seventh-eighth century. 



A fairly good supply of sherds composes a part of the col- 
lection and out of this little bundles and bags find their way 
into the classroom from time to time for firsthand examina- 
tion by students and instructor alike. The archaeological 
periods are represented as follows: Chaloolithic, Ghassul 
(365) and Djiflik (412). EB, Jericho (433), just a few. 
IntB, Kufin (373). MB, Kufin (443), two sherds, and Kufin 
(658). LB, Tel es-Saidiyeh (330). Iron and Persian, El Jib 
(734). Roman, Ain Feshka (416) and Qumran (423). 
Nabatean (665), miscellaneous. Byzantine, El Jib (737). 

Besides the sherds there are several broken and frag- 
mentary vessels sufficiently complete for restoration. 

Undated Objects 
Occasionally a registry card does not propose to place 
the article in any recognizable archaeological period, nor to 
discuss the probable date. A very few times I may have been 
disposed to classify the piece on what appeared to be obvious 
features, but felt that this should be done at a more propitious 
time for examination and study. All of this points up the fact 
of opportunities for work with this excellent collection. 

There are approximately 65 articles in the section, repre- 
senting a great deal of archaeological chronology as well as 
types and forms. Just a few pieces will be named : an alabaster 
bottle (210), moulded oil flasks (408, 409), small weights 
(489-495), a red striped jar from Bab ed-Dhra' (657), a bone 
spatula (682), an agate intaglio (698), a collection of arrow- 
heads and blades (some surgical) of bronze and iron (699- 
709), a bronze vessel with cone-shaped lid (732), a jug with 
high loop handle (758), a large two-handle bag-shaped store 
jar 759), and bone pendants (773, 774). Besides these there 
are bowls, jewelry, beads, flints and stones. 

Analysis of the collection quickly discloses several orders 
of common properties other than the chronological relation- 
ships. Classification is attempted along such lines as type, 
form, material and provenance, with the realization that only 
some of the more obvious categories could be set out. An 
alphabetical order will be followed. As approximate numbers 
are proposed for each grouping it must be kept clear that this 
count is a duplication of previous counts, and also that the 
numbers are not exact. 



Omitting- lamps, of which there are several, about 67 
articles constitute the collection of bronzes, which are of vari- 
ous archaeological datings. In addition to the lamps there are 
pitchers, toggle pins, blades, swords, daggers, arrowheads, 
ornaments, weights, mirrors, cups (censers?), bowls and 
some unidentified pieces. 

Two photographs of bronzes are presented. Plate AA 
shows six articles. The toggle pin (695) at the top of the pic- 
ture is one of a group of four, of the EB-MB Age, which seem 
to be Byblos types. Next downward is a "duck bill" axe head 
(643), somewhat damaged. It is of the MB, and, although it 
comes from the Antioch, Turkey, area, it is like those found 
in Palestine whose presence there may be due to the Hyksos. 
The third item is a fine spear point (641) which is somewhat 
unusual because of its thick, very square haft between the 
cutting edges and the tang. The general date is that of MB. 
Our fine bronze sword (824) is in surprisingly good condition, 
although the handle inlay is gone. The weapon is assigned to 
the LB because of similar blades from that time in the Rocke- 
feller Museum in Jerusalem. The cast-bronze figurine (435) 
is 3% inches tall. Its provenance may be coastal Syria and 
its date that of LB II. The headdress, pointed cap and full 
length garment seem derived from Hittite origins. The last 
object is an adze blade (691) from the Early Iron Age. Be- 
cause of its particular shape it probably was not used as a 
weapon, rather "a workman's blade for splitting wood, 
chopping, trimming, etc." 


Seven bronze articles appear in Plate BB. Taking them 
by rows, the first one in the top row is a bracelet (633), one 
of a group of four which were found with Iron II pottery. 
Without this fact it would be very difficult to assign a correct 
date. To the right is a lamp (43) which has volutes joined by a 
double bar. There are affinities with spatulate lamps and so 
this one is assigned the date of the second half of the first 
century A.D. The large round piece is a rare mirror (323), 
8 V4 inches in diameter, which has intricate incised decoration. 
The workmanship and the firm metal would seem Roman. 
The date: lst-3rd C. A.D. Right from the mirror is a bowl 
(733) complete with handle, of a type known from the Roman 
period. Another lamp (850) is first in the next row, executed 
in the style and ornamentation of clay lamps of about A.D. 
50-150. The pitcher (300) resembles the form of many Roman 
vessels, but probably comes from the early Byzantine period, 
about the fourth century. Then, finally, another lamp (615) 
of late Byzantine to early Arab shape, about fifth to seventh 



The impressive listing of coins, numbering about 292, 
objectively calls to mind the panorama of history in Palestine 
from Alexander, the Great, to the Crusaders. Only a few of 
the names which are inscribed on these coins can be mentioned 
to illustrate the perspective. Alexander, the Great, has 
already been named, then come the Ptolemies of Egypt, the 
Seleucids of Syria with Antiochus IV, Epiphanes, as one of 
the memorable persons in Jewish history of Intertestament 
times. The Maccabeans and Hasmoneans are there, with 
Alexander Jannaeus as one example. Of the Roman emperors 
there is a rather large tabulation of whom Nero, Titus, 
Hadrian and Constantine, the Great, are among those who 
bear some importance in the history of Palestine. The Pro- 
curators under Roman emperors are represented by Valerius 
Gratus, Pontius Pilatus and Antonius Felix. There are Jew- 
ish coins of Herod Agrippa I, the First Revolt and the Second 
Revolt. Then come Byzantine coins, many of them, Arab- 
Byzantine of Greek type, the Ummayid Dynasty and some 
Crusader names. Their major metals are copper, bronze, 
silver and gold; of the last only two. 

Two plates will lay before us the obverses of 18 of these 
coins, in rows reading to right and top to bottom. In Plate 
CC are the following: Alexander, the Great, (938), 336-323 
B.C.; Antiochus IV, Epiphanes (951), 175-164 B.C.; Diocle- 
tian (997), A.D. 284-305; Constantine I, the Great (1015), 
A.D. 306-337; Julian, the Apostate (1040), A.D. 355-363; 
Anastasius I (1052), A.D. 491-518; Justinian I (1058), A.D. 
527-565; Hadrian (1102), A.D. 117-138; under Tiberius, 
Pontius Pilatus (1122), A.D. 26-36. 

Plate DD has the following: Under Nero, Antonius 
Felix (1127), A.D. 52-60; Second Jewish Revolt (1133), A.D. 
132-135; Nero (1151), A.D. 54-68; Vespasian (1151a), A.D. 
69-79; Philip I, the Arab (1156), A.D. 244-249; Valentinianus 
I (1184), A.D. 364-375; since this coin is gold, its authenticity 
cannot be guaranteed; First Jewish Revolt (1185), A.D. 66- 
70; an exact copy of an original; Herod Agrippa I (1190), 
A,D. 37-44; Mohammed Tugleg (1200), 8th C. A.D. 



:? ^^^fclts*'' 

Plate CC 

Plate DD 


Ancient glass is a fascinating study in itself, and the 
several pieces which were successfully transported from Pal- 
estine to the States to be a part of this collection enhance it 
all the more. Although glass must have been manufactured 
in considerable quantities, especially in Byzantine times, it 
may not have been used in funerary deposits as commonly 
as ceramics, moreover it was quite fragile and often it sur- 
vived only in fragments. 

Plate EE shows the glass segment. The large vase (314) , 
at the top, has a Byzantine flaring mouth which distinguishes 
it from the earlier Roman period. Next in the diagonal row 
is a squat-shaped bottle (310) of very thin glass. After being 
hand-blown the bottom of the vessel was pressed in and the 
body was decorated with nine vertical indentations. Next 
stands a bottle (320) of a shape assumed to have contained 
perfume, the long neck preventing spillage. The shape is 
familiar at the beginning of the Christian era, probably the 
first century A.D. At the left end of the second row stands 
a very small bottle (308). The lop-sided shape, especially of 
the mouth, suggests a rather early date, probably in the first 
century also. The spindle-shaped bottle (309) is of a type 
that was popular in the Roman period. Its rounded bottom 
may suggest that it was a funerary piece, meant to be stuck 
in the ground beside the coffin. Numbers 308-310 were found 
in the same tomb. The tiny vial (822), at the right, is Roman 
and tinted light blue, a very beautiful little vessel. The double 
unguentarium (720), next right, while Roman was made by 
means of a technique in use centuries before. Heated strands 
of glass were wrapped around rods, the glass flattened and 
smoothed and the rods removed. The large Byzantine bottle 
(333) may have had a neck and mouth like 314. The glass is 
surprisingly thin. At bottom left is a double kohl-bottle (321) . 
In contrast to the other double bottle, this one was blown and 
then decorated with strands of glass. It was used for mascara 
and was found in a tomb complete with its bronze application 



Gems, Jewelry and Ornaments 

The age old desire for ornamentation of the person has 
made a considerable contribution to the richness of this col- 
lection, for about 68 articles may be classed as gems, jewelry 
or ornaments, exclusive of toggle pins, scarabs and seals, brace- 
lets and anklets. The count must be considered approximate 
because of overlapping in classifications. Mesolithic taper- 
shell beads (761) have already been shown in Plate B, and a 
Chalcolithic necklace of disc-shaped carnelian beads (762) is 
in Plate D. From then on examples have come from almost 
every archaeological age to the Byzantine period. Three plates 
of jewelry are presented showing views of necklaces, and 
Roman and Byzantine jewelry. 

Plate FF has nine restrung necklaces of several periods. 
The reading is the usual left to right and top to bottom. 
1. Chalcolithic beads (762), previously referred to but includ- 
ed here to round out the exhibit. 2. Orange-brown EB (421), 
from the Bad ed-Dhra' cemetery just above the tongue of land 
that extends westward into the Dead Sea. 3. A multitude of 
white bone beads (848), of IntB. 4. Smooth, almost black 
garnets (812), of MB. 5. A composite necklace of carnelian 
stone and blue glass (403), dated to LB. The largest ones are 
double-pierced. 6. A very attractive strand (404), of EI, as- 
sembled from single carnelian beads, all from one locale. The 
pendants in the form of lotus pods show Egyptian influence. 
Only the rich could avail themselves of such workmanship 
and materials and beads of this sort were found in royal tombs 
at Megiddo. 7. Assorted agates (855), probably from several 
periods, about 6th-3rd C. B.C. 8. Fluted faience (760), blue- 
green in color, from the Roman period of Pompeiian date. 
9. Assorted Byzantine beads (802). 





£»t *^c x?r 
L LATE jb £ 


A few articles of Roman jewelry are in Plate GG. 819 
is a gold earring with a garnet set and a carnelian pendant. 830 
a pair of earrings of gold and garnets. 833, a finger ring of 
gold with stone of garnet. 835, earring with gold pendant 
and garnet stones. The fine work suggests a Roman date, 
although the style may seem Byzantine. 838, large earring of 
gold with agate beads. 856, three blue faience amulet-beads 
from a larger assortment. 

Some Byzantine pieces are represented in Plate HH. 
919, a silver finger ring with an intaglio bezel of white-gray 
onyx-like material. 800, a simple, large, somewhat chipped 
amethyst bead. 831, nose or ear pendant. The fine granular 
work would point to a Roman date, although the overall design 
strongly suggests Byzantine. 832, earring and chain. 811, 
assorted chevron-beads, both pierced and unpierced, from a 
larger group. They bear resemblances to some of the Persian 
period, but eye-beads in association with them may suggest 
a Byzantine date (cf. Plate FF 802). 





' ,:■ 



Plate GG 

* g 3f 





* 8U 

Plate HH 

Khirbet Kufin Corpus 

A quotation from Smith's monograph, Excavations in the 
Cemetery at Khirbet Kufin, introduces us to this section. 

In recent years the Palestinian (now Jordanian) 
village of Beit Ummar has been the source of a small 
but persistent flow of antiquities. Being curious about 
the area, I accepted in December, 1958, the invitation 
of a friend in Jerusalem to examine the locale. A 
short time later we visited the village and were taken 
to a nearby hill, identified as Khirbet Kufin [about 
seven miles north of Hebron], where we were shown a 
number of ancient tombs cut into the hillside. From 
these, the villagers said, had come many antiquities. . . . 
The number and quality of the tombs were such 
that some exploratory excavation at the site seemed 
desirable. . . . 2 

A joint project of the American School of Oriental Research 
of Jerusalem and the Department of Antiquities of Jordan 
was carried forward in the spring of 1959. Smith's report 
appeared as the first in a series of archaeological monographs, 
published by Mr. H. Dunscombe Colt in 1962. 

Thirty-four of the articles which were recovered are in 
the collection now being described, and many of them are 
pictured, or drawn and discussed in the monograph. They 
are given this kind of archaeological distribution : one in 
Chalcolithic ; two in EB; two in IntB; twenty eight in MB II; 
and one in LB. 

By turning to Plate II, nine articles are seen, to be re- 
ferred to by row and left to right. At the very top is a large 
jug (376) of buff ware from MB II. The first in the next row 
is a small jar (445) of coarse ware of EB dating. A broken 
out part of the body was cleaned and shows a dull brick-red 
on the surface. The balance of the vessel is heavily encrusted. 
Next to the right is a limestone mortar (232), also from EB. 
To the right and a little above is a jug (440) of a light brcwn 
color, frcm MB II. The next rcw begins with a bronze axe 
blade (659) which is MB II. The dagger blade (647) is bronze 
and MB II in age. Three square rivets which attached the 
handle were recovered. Last in the row is a buff bowl 
(342), carinated in shape and of MB II. A unique jug (500) 
is at lower left, decorated with an irregular band of punched 
dots around the shoulder and running up each side of the 
handle. Its date is also MB II. In last place is a small IntB 
jar (447), badly damaged. 



Some knowledgable persons have commented in warm 
terms on the body of lamps in the collection, and the author 
of this article, who has handled them all, would agree with 
their assessment to the fullest; nevertheless, it seems best to 
allow Dr. Smith's own remarks in his introduction to open 
this discussion. 

In quoting some of the salient features of the col- 
lection, I have said little about oil lamps. As my earlier 
comments indicate, however, the collection is richer 
in lamps than any other type of artifact. Although 
many of the lamps come from various regions of the 
eastern Mediterranean, the largest single group by far 
is from Palestine. Included are some seldom-found 
types, but many common lamps have intentionally been 
brought into the collection so that as complete a type- 
series as possible would be available for study. Even 
here some desired types did not become available during 
the time the collection was being formed ; nevertheless, 
it is possible to say that the present assemblage repre- 
sents a more balanced series of lamp types than do 
those of most collections which have been made, apart 
from certain much larger collections to be found within 

All of the archaeological periods, with the possible excep- 
tion of LB, are represented in the total of about 413 vessels. 
From the earlier periods they are relatively few, as may be 
expected, but late in the Hellenistic Age the number begins 
to increase so that the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine 
lamps predominate, and then the number diminishes on into 
the Islamic and later periods. The forms range from the simple 
shell or flat cup (or saucer) to multispouted and highly orna- 
mented moulded types, including some specimens of bronze. 
Smith's several articles in Berytus and The Biblical Archaeo- 
logist^ quite completely describe the types he brought together, 
and in some instances his discussion relates to individual 
lamps of the collection. 

Plates JJ and KK bring together examples of various 
archaeological ages and some specimens of special interest. 
Again the items of survey will be numbered, left to right and 
top to bottom. 


Plate JJ: 1. A simple saucer lamp (748), with round 
bottom and four very slight pinches in the rim. It is probably 
from the end of EB and the antecedent of the IntB four-spout 
lamp. 2. A four-spout lamp (743), sometimes called four- 
corner, from the IntB. 3. A round bottom saucer lamp (744), 
whose rim is pinched together to form a trough to keep the 
wick in place. From MB II. 4. A round bottom lamp (278), 
from EI period. The rim flares almost to a flange. 5. A 
familiar MI type (282), with very heavy base and high sides. 
6. A wheel-made lamp (26), of very hard and heavy clay. 
Typologically it is pre-Hellenistic, and of Late Iron/Persian 
times. 7. From 2nd C. B.C. (3) , of very hard clay, with string- 
cut base. 8. From about 2nd C. B.C., a "Maccabean" or 
"cornucopia" lamp (9). 9. A good example of the "Herodian" 
type (15), from first half of 1st C. A.D. 

Plate KK: 1. An "Augustan" factory-made lamp (39), 
of buff clay. Very similar specimens come from other parts 
of the Roman empire. About the middle of 1st C. A.D. 2. An 
example from the Byzantine/Christian period (200), from 
4th or 5th C. A.D. A rare design is on the shoulder, composed 
of a Greek inscription which must be held up to a mirror to 
be read, and then the word "blessing" can be seen. 3. An 
Islamic lamp (157), from the llth-12th C. A.D. Ornamented 
with birds and a floral design. 4. From about 3rd C. and later 
a moulded lamp (84), which may be considered Jewish be- 
cause, along with other ornamentation, a knobbed menorah 
and a pair of fire shovels can be seen on the nozzle-bridge. 
5. From Petra a Roman lamp (280), which has a well-moulded 
horse and chariot design on the discus. 6. A large and heavy 
lamp (37), which has seven spouts and a palmate handle, 
probably of Egyptian manufacture. It is not assigned to a 
specific date. 7. Of the next lamp (33) the catalogue card 
says, "This lamp clearly developed out of the Greek wheel- 
turned lamp. Its affinities are with the large and handsome 
wheel-turned lamps of Qumran (in use 31 B.C. and doubtless 
earlier) . Hence a I century B.C. date is correct. A very rare 
lamp." 8. A large lamp (630), 10% inches in length, from 
Greece, bearing black and red glaze. No date is assigned. 
9. Finally a lamp from Cairo (526). The bottom is shown be- 
cause of the stamp, STROBILII, indicating that it comes from 
a well-known lamp-maker who worked in the Roman style. 



These most interesting reminiscences of names, life styles 
and personalities of the ancient past have good, although limit- 
ed representation. There are twelve, of which six are scarabs, 
two are conoids and four are scaraboids, with dates assigned 
to ten of them in the MB I-II, MB II, LB, EI, LI and Persian 
periods, while two are undated. 

Nine seals may be inspected in Plate LL by numbering 
left to right and top to bottom. 1. Mottled gray steatite scarab 
(669). Two uraei facing inward, both wearing the crown of 
Lower Egypt, and above the solar disk with pendant wings. 
MB I-IIa (Dynasty XII, 20th-19th C. B.C.). 2. Scarab (670) 
of dark stone, turning light. The scene is that of Horus and 
Seth reconciled, both having falcon heads and triangular loin 
cloths, plus other symbols. MB II (Hyksos, 17th C. B.C.). 
3. Scarab (672), showing an animal-headed deity holding a 
long rectangular shield in his left hand. MB II (Hyksos, 1750- 
1500 B.C.). 4. White steatite scarab (673). An S-shaped scroll 
occupies the center of interest on this scarab, with other 
designs around the sides of the base. MB II (Hyksos, 17th 
C, B.C.). 5. White steatite scarab (668). It depicts the body 
cf a lion with a man's head, wearing a wig, with a skirt across 
the front legs. This composite beast wears the uraeus on the 
forehead and has a false beard, while beneath is the recumbant 
figure of a man. LB (Dynasties XVIII-XIX, 1580-1200 B.C.). 
6. Conoid seal (639) of dark stone, pierced for suspension, 
with a simple fish design incised on its face. EI (1200-900 
B.C.). 7. Moulded blue glass scaraboid seal (667). A bird, 
possibly an eagle, is attacking a horned animal from the rear. 
A crescent is above. LI (575-330 B.C.). 8. Conoid seal (677), 
of the Persian period. 9. Moulded black glass scaraboid (678), 
of the Persian period also. 




Stone Artifacts 

The articles of stone well illustrate the fact that the use 
of this material for household and personal use was not limit- 
ed to the stone ages. The 23 (approximate) pieces are of con- 
siderable variety including flints, celts, axe, mace heads, 
pommel, pendants, cosmetic dishes, petroglyph, spinning 
whorls, measuring cup, ossuary, quern, and polisher not 
counting weights and seals. They run in size as that of the 
quern, about 10% inches, to a tiny Hebrew weight which can- 
not cover a dime. Their dates lie in the Paleolithic, Mesolithic, 
Chalcolithic, EB, MB II, Iron I and II, Persian, Hellenistic, 
and Roman periods. 

A petroglyph (281) merits description although it has 
not been photographed. The glyph is a rude drawing of an 
ibex done with five straight lines representing the body and 
legs, and two curved lines representing the horns which are 
made to stretch back almost to the tail. This specimen is from 
Petra and probably of Nabatean times. 

Some representative pieces of stone artifacts which were 
brought into the collection are shown in Plate MM. At the 
top is a saddle-shaped quern (299), mentioned above, which 
is not assigned to any date. At the left end of the first row 
is a polisher (298) , likewise without date. These were acquired 
at the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem 
from overstocks. Right of the polisher is a black macehead 
(739), probably from EB. The round object farther right is 
a limestone dagger pommel (432). This type of pommel has 
been dated to the MB II - LB I periods. At the end of the 
row is a pendant (640), of black stone, polished, incised with 
straight lines in a simple geometric pattern, and pierced for 
suspension. Its provenance is ancient Samaria or nearby. Its 
date: probably MB. Standing below 298 is another pendant 
(638), also of black stone and pierced, probably to be worn 
as part of a necklace. Probably from the EI period. Below 
and to the right is a flint sling ball (462) frcm Tel en-Nasbeh, 
of Early or Middle Iron date. Likewise from the Iron Age are 
the two spindle whorls (653). Sometimes such objects were 
used as loom weights. Last, at lower right is a beautiful white 
limestone cosmetic palette (829) cf Iron II. 



Several balance weights of stone and metal are reminders 
of trade centers and market places of ancient Palestine, and 
speak of the felt need for accurate and just standards in the 
business world and daily life of the times. The heterogeneity 
of this small section is illustrated by a mixed group of seven 
(489-495), and by the Plate NN. Of the numbers 489-495, 
apparently cf bronze, some seem to be Hellenistic, some 
Byzantine and others Arabic in their chronology. They range 
from 20.5 grams to 3 grams in weight, and differ considerably 
in shape. 

Plate NN shows six quite diverse weights, and a U.S. 
nickle for scale comparison. They are numbered left to right 
and top to bottom. 1. The largest one (266), of hard black 
stone, well polished, seems quite rare. It weighs 147 grams, 
and may be considered a one-quarter mina. The shape is known 
in Egypt, Mesopotamia and Palestine. The date : Iron Age 
(1200-575 B.C.). 2. A dome-shaped hematite weight (689), 
weighing 5 grams, i.e., one half a neseph, the "light" shekel. 
Iron Age (1200-575 B.C.). 3. A high domed hematite speci- 
men (690), 8 grams in weight, about 2/3 of a shekel, and 
probably a pirn (cf. I Samuel 13: 19-21). The sides show num- 
erous and irregular facetings which may be the result of 
grinding and polishing the stone down to the standard weight. 
Iron Age (1200-575 B.C.). 4. A large hematite weight (768) 
of the Iron Age (1200-575 B.C.). 5. A bronze weight (664) 
of the Byzantine Age (4th-7th C. A.D.). The cross probably 
indicated that the user was dealing honestly "by the cross." 
The other symbols designate the Byzantine ounce. This one 
weights 25.5 grams. 6. A monogrammed weight (710), no 
date proposed. 






Plate NJS 

Miscellaneous Unclassified Objects 

Surely it is inevitable that any attempt to classify the 
items in such a collection must arrive at the ubiquitous divis- 
ion called "miscellaneous." Under this head there are some 
25 or more registry numbers, the objects being of such nature 
that they seem, for the present, to stand somewhat alone, wait- 
ing for further work in organizing the whole body of materi- 
als. Beyond the few I shall list are such pieces as some terra 
cotta forms, objects of bone, faience, stone and shell ; and some 
good duplications of a cuneiform tablet, lamps and Egyptian 
funerary figurines for illustrative use. 

Twelve are listed here: 1. A piece of tile (483), bearing 
a "wheel" or "rosette" motif. Byzantine period. 2. An ostrich 
egg (498), in fragments. An MB II funerary deposit at 
Khirbet Kufin. 3. A wooden comb (656), from Judean caves 
of the time of Bar Kochba, A.D. 132-135. 4. A fragment of a 
Hebrew brick (718), from ancient Shechem, about 1200-900 
B.C. 5. An assortment of Byzantine tomb objects (726), in- 
cluding nails, bracelets, bells, cylindrical containers, and some 
kind of botanical remains. 6. Gold foil pieces (842-845), prob- 
ably Iron II, possibly Iron I, or even Early Bronze. The pieces 
seem to have been used for placing on various parts of a 
human body at burial, such as forehead, eyes, mouth and 
breasts, although this is not really certain. 7. Several pieces 
of very thin gold, or foil (849), of the Roman period. These 
may have been attached to the clothing of the dead. 8. Three 
fragments of bitumen (900), from an LB II burial at Tel es- 
Saidiyeh. They carry the imprint of the clothing in which 
and around which the bitumen was poured. 9. A piece of ivory 
(901), which was part of a cosmetic box. No date. 10. A 
stamped jar handle (904), probably from Ephesus. No date. 
11 and 12. Two metal khol bottles (931, 932), of the Turkish 
period, 1517-1917. Number 931 has a mirror and text, and 
number 932 is decorated with flowers made of metal. 

Now the description of this particular body of more than 
1200 artifacts from the Biblical world comes to a close. Tech- 
nical it is not, but informational it is meant to be. The photo- 
graphs and data provide a good idea of what kind and quality 
of source materials are here available for research and teach- 
ing aids. For Robert Smith the major original purpose was 
that of educational benefit. He stressed the importance of 


working with, looking at and handling artifacts in order that 
they may become an intimate part of one's store of informa- 
tion. Such experiences with these ancient reminders of the 
lives, customs and beliefs of people who once lived in the Land 
of the Bible certainly will enrich the understanding and feel- 
ing for Biblical accounts and characters. "Handle . . . and 
see" is an injunction of Jesus in reference to the need for 
sensory perception. What can happen to people, old and young, 
when they can inspect a jar and realize that one like it may 
have been used in Abraham's "kitchen" ; or touch a necklace 
with the understanding that Michal, the daughter of Saul, 
could have worn one much like it when she became the wife 
of David? Or what may be the emotion of someone upon real- 
izing that the lamp being examined is the kind Jesus had in 
mind when he said that no one lights a lamp and then places 
it under a bushel ? 

We see an opportunity to take up the original purpose 
of this rich assemblage and even to extend it. Firm plans now 
laid should make possible the establishment of a modest Bib- 
lical museum at Ashland Theological Seminary within the 
next two years, God willing! Besides lighted cases in a pleas- 
ant atmosphere, there are to be lecture space, seminar/reading 
tables, and rooms for storage and conservation. The welcome 
sign will be out for scholars, students, and friends of the 
church community. 


■Robert Houston Smith, "A Middle Bronze II Tomb from the 
Vicinity of Jerusalem," Annual of the Department of Antiquities of 
Jordan. XV (1970). 17-20, 2 pages of plates. 

2 Idem, Excavations in the Cemetery at Khirbet Kufin, Palestine. 
with a foreword by W. F. Albright (London: Bernard Quaritch, Ltd.. 
1962), p. v. 

"•Idem, "The Herodian Lamps of Palestine: Types and Dates," 
Berytus. XIV (1961), 2-31. Also a series of three articles: "The House- 
hold lamps of Palestine in Old Testament Times," The Biblical Archaeo- 
logist, XXVII, No. 1 (1964), 2-31; "The Household Lamps of Palestine 
in Intertestament Times," ibid., XXVII, No. 4 (1964), 101-124; "The 
Household Lamps of Palestine in New Testament Times," ibid.. XXIX. 
No. 1 (1966), 2-27. 



land Theological 


Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio 

Spring 1975 

■ ■ 

i > 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 


Spring, 1975 

Introduction to the Current Issue 2 

A Study of Brethren Historiography 

Donald F. Durnbaugh, Ph. D. 3 

The Wilderness Aspect of the Brethren 
Movement — The Reasons for It 
Homer A. Kent, Sr., Th. D. 19 

What Were the Brethren Doing 
Between 1785 and 1860? 
Roger E. Sappington, Ph. D. ------ 30 

Roots by the River 

Marcus Miller, M.D. -------- 47 

The Developing Thought and Theology of 
the Brethren— 1785-1860 
Dale W. Brown, Ph. D. ------- 61 

How The Brethren Were Influencing the 
Development of Other Denominations 
Between 1785 and 1860 
Roger E. Sappington, Ph. D. ------ 75 

The Brethren— 1785-1860, Reconsidered in 1974 

Robert G. Clouse, Ph. D. ------- 87 

I W I 

Editorial Committee: Owen H. Alderfer, editor 

Joseph N. Kickasola 
Joseph R. Shultz, Vice President 

Vol. VIII No. 1 

Published by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 


Introduction to the Current Issue 

THIS issue of the Ashland Theological Bulletin brings together 
the results of research completed for the Brethren Writers 
Conference which convened at Ashland Theological Seminary, 
Ashland, Ohio, April 19 and 20, 1974. The theme of the confer- 
ence was "The Brethren— 1785 to 1860." 

The conference and its theme were inspired in part out of 
the Brethren Conference at Broadway, Virginia, a year earlier. 
That conference pointed to new information forthcoming relative 
to "The Wilderness Period" of Brethren history. This conference 
brought together considerable specific data from the period. 

Ashland Theological Seminary was honored to host this 
gathering of scholar-writers who came representing six Brethren 
fellowships. The Seminary appreciates the opportunity to make 
the fruits of the conference available to those interested in 
Brethren history. 

Contributors to this Issue 

Dale W. Brown is Professor of Theology at Bethany Theological 
Seminary. A Kansan, he has earned degrees from McPherson College, 
Bethany Biblical Seminary, and Northwestern University, Ph. D., 1962. 

Robert G. Clouse is Professor of History at Indiana State University 
(Bloomington). Born in Mansfield, Ohio, he studied at Ashland College, 
Bryan College, Grace Theological Seminary and University of Iowa, Ph. D., 
1963. Dr. Clouse has specialized in early modern European history. He is 
minister to the First Brethren Church, Clay City, Indiana. 

Donald F. Durnbaugh is Professor of Church History at Bethany 
Theological Seminary. He holds degrees from Manchester College, Univer- 
sity of Michigan and University of Pennsylvania, Ph. D., 1960, with special- 
izations in modern European history and church history. Dr. Durnbaugh 
has published extensively on Brethren history and the believers' church. 

Homer A. Kent, Sr. is a graduate of Ashland College, the Bible Insti- 
tute of Los Angeles, Xenia Theological Seminary, and Grace Theological 
Seminary, Th. D. He has been a pastor and a professor at Washington Bible 
College and Grace Theological Seminary. He is the principal historian in 
the National Fellowship of Brethren Churches (Grace Brethren). 

Marcus Miller is a practicing physician in Covington, Ohio. He 
completed his undergraduate work at Earlham College and his medical 
degree at University of Michigan. Dr. Miller is an active layperson among 
the Old German Baptist Brethren and a historian and writer of the movement. 

Roger E. Sappington is Professor of History at Bridgewater College, 
Virginia. He has researched and written extensively on topics of Brethren 
historical interest. 

A Study of Brethren Historiography 

Donald F. Durnbaugh 

VERY little attention has been given to Brethren historiogra- 
phy — the study of the ways in which the history has been 
written of the lineal and spiritual descendants of the first eight 
at Schwarzenau/Eder in 1708. This is not too surprising when 
we recall that it was only two generations ago that the first surge 
of Brethren history writing began. In the three years bracketing 
the turn of the century, M. G. Falkenstein, and H. R. Holsinger 
brought out their pioneer histories of the Brethren (evidently 
with some feeling of competition. In 1906 John Gillin produced 
the first sociological investigation of the Brethren. Two years 
later John S. Flory released his study of early Brethren literary 
activity. The same year saw issuance of the handsomely-manu- 
factured volume of the bicentennial addresses of the Annual 
Conference of the newly-named Church of the Brethren. The 
latter volume serves as a capstone of the foundational elements 
of Brethren historiography. Later writers such as Otho Winger, 
S. Z. Sharp, J. E. Miller, J. M. Kimmel and others built on their 
findings. 1 

There had of course been earlier articles and biographies 
published in the periodical literature and almanacs. The two men 
in the latter half of the nineteenth century best qualified to write 
the history of the Brethren found themselves incapacitated to 
finish the task, despite their evident immersion in the topic. 
Henry Kurtz found the pressure of editorial work and the ab- 
sence of original documents inhibiting; Abraham Harley Cassel 
was too sensitive to his lack of formal educational background 
and literary training to undertake the task; moreover in later 
life his capacities failed. This led Brumbaugh to write the poig- 
nant lines: "Alas! Life-long devotion has dulled his ear and 
dimmed his eye. He cannot do the work." 2 

A full study of Brethren historiography would be both 
fascinating and instructive. That exceeds the possibilities of this 
paper. Rather, the intent here is to analyze the received inter- 
pretative scheme of Brethren history which has long dominated 

the narrative scene. Its groundwork was laid by the writers 
mentioned earlier. The interpretation has been further expanded 
and polished by writers of more recent times. Such excellent 
works as Auburn Boyers' study of Brethren education and 
Albert T. Ronk's history reflect this basic understanding, with 
certain modification. A few exceptions to the regnant interpre- 
tation have been published — such as J. M. Kimmel's Chronicles 
of the (Old German Baptist) Brethren with simple division at 
the time of the schism — but they have not been widely accepted 
by other writers. 3 

The focus of this now-traditional approach is to divide 
Brethren history — like ancient Gaul — into three parts. With 
minor differences in nomenclature and chronology they are: 
1) a period of early or colonial history (from 1708 to the Revo- 
lutionary War) ; 2) a period of eclipse or wilderness (from the 
Revolutionary War to 1850) ; and 3) a period of recovery or 
renaissance (from 1850 to the present). Floyd Mallott described 
the tripartite division as follows : "It has been customary to out- 
line Brethren history as a colonial period from the beginning 
in 1708 to the confiscation of Christopher Sauer's printing press 
in the Revolutionary days of 1778 ; a ivestern-migration or ivild- 
erness period from 1778 to 1851, when Henry Kurtz launched 
the Gospel Visitor; and a period of revived activity and progress 
from 1851 to 1918 ... or some more recent date." Mallott was 
one of the first to point out some of the problems with this inter- 
pretation. The middle period for which Brethren "generally 
have been apologetic" was also the time when "major work" was 
performed in "planting the church geographically," a point to 
which we shall return. In addition he believed that "Brethren 
have been too ready to accept the designation progress for the 
last period" and suggested that time will tell if these changes 
"add up to progress." 4 

For our purpose we want to cencentrate on the ways in 
which the first two periods have been considered. Our thesis 
may be rather simply expressed. The commonly-accepted picture 
of high Brethren achievement during the colonial period has 
been overstated ; the picture of Brethren stagnation in the "wild- 
erness period" has been equally overstated. It is necessary to 
develop a different interpretation of Brethren history which 
would allow a more closely integrated pattern of development. 
The past belief that the Brethren experienced a colonial golden 
age, which was shattered by the Revolution and followed by a 
dark age, from which nadir the church experienced a return 
and revival — will no longer do. 

A few lines from Otho Winger's concise study of Brethren 
life (one of the more restrained narratives) will introduce the 
discussion : 

[W]e have seen that the founders of the Church of the 
Brethren were intelligent men, some of them college-trained. 
They were strong preachers and leaders. They brought from 
Europe a great love for learning. No colonial press was more 
productive of works of learning than that of the Sowers at 
Germantown. Christopher Sower, Jr., who had been educated 
under good private teachers, became the leading person in 
organizing and directing the Germantown academy. A select 
school was supported by the Brethren at Germantown. . . . 
During the first half of the nineteenth century secondary and 
higher education did not meet with much favor in the Church 
of the Brethren. The misfortune of some of the church leaders 
during the Revolution, the failure of the great printing business 
conducted by the Brethren, and the spread of the church far 
into the frontier wilderness, all had influence, not only to cause 
the Brethren to lose interest in, but even to arouse a position 
antagonism to, higher education. 5 

Martin G. Brumbaugh used his considerable powers of 
eloquence to provide more specific detail to the panorama painted 
by Winger. 

From the outset, the church was in the forefront of all 
religious progress. Its members, more than any other, taught 
religion to the German pioneers of Colonial America. . . . 
[T]he church enjoyed the unique distinction of contributing 
more leadership to religious progress than any other equal 
group before the Revolutionary War. . . . They not only lived 
a fitting testimony to the faith they expressed but they put 
forth unequaled enterprise in spreading their doctrines to the 
remotest pioneer's cabin home. Wherever the German lang- 
uage was used, from Rhode Island to Georgia, they were 
known and respected. Alexander Mack was a great scholar, 
and his profound knowledge of the Bible and the knowledge 
his Brethren shared with him are of such commanding influ- 
ence that they joined with others in producing the memorable 
Bible with far-reaching commentary data known as the Berle- 
burg Bible published from 1726 to 1742; and his youngest 
son, Alexander Mack, Bishop of the mother Church in Ger- 
mantown, wrote more important religious guidance than any 
other leader of American colonial thought. 6 

S. Z. Sharp explained the noteworthy achievements of the 
early Brethren as the result of their instruction by European 
scholars. "It is a matter of supreme satisfaction to know that 
the men who wielded so great an influence over the minds of 
our early church members were not ignorant enthusiasts like 
Boehme and Fox, but men of education, who had their minds 
trained in some of the best universities in Europe and some of 
them were themselves instructors in universities." Among these 
stalwarts were Arndt, De labadie, Penn, Felbinger, Spener, 
Arnold, and Hochmann. This being the case, Sharp found it 

appropriate to claim the "first school of formal teaching estab- 
lished by the Brethren" as the gathering of the first eight at 
Schwarzenau "where the Bible was the textbook and the Holy 
Spirit gave instruction." 7 

The key elements which could be summarized from these 
and comparable descriptions are these: an early leadership of 
intelligence and advanced training ; a remarkable record of edu- 
cational and cultural contribution in the colonies, including the 
first known Sunday school (antedating Robert Raikes initiative 
by many years), the first German press, the first religious mag- 
azine, major involvement in educational institutions, the first 
bibles in a European language. 

Yet, these notable achievements of church were blasted by 
the impact of the Revolutionary War. With the destruction of 
the Sauer press and the threat of military service or oaths of 
allegiance, Brethren were driven into cultural and geographical 
isolation in the backwaters of the frontier. The progressive thrust 
of the colonial church was lost, giving way to narrowness, ignor- 
ance, and deprivation. 

The effect on the church was one of complete transforma- 
tion. In Flory's words : "It has lost its breadth of vision. It has 
lost aggressiveness. It has lost the cultural atmosphere that 
formerly surrounded it. And it has attained a plebeian common- 
placeness that has robbed it of its former stateliness and 
dignity. . . . The church was ossifying, crystallizing into a fixed 
order. An unchanging, unyielding rigidity was encrusting the 
church in all phases of its life. Any change was deplored." For 
Ronk, it was an age of silence ; for Gillin, a "great hiatus." The 
voice of the Brethren had been stilled. 8 

For this reason little literary activity could be expected and 
little found. "During the first half of the nineteenth century, 
therefore, there was almost nothing of a literary nature produced 
by our people" (Flory). Granted that there were some able 
preachers and a large measure of firmness of faith preserved, 
the overall impression was one of gloom waiting for the "dawn 
of a bright new day" with Kurtz and his periodicals. Holsinger 
likewise found that the "Tunkers lost their reputation for 
intelligence during the early years of the nineteenth century. 
They were not only indifferent to their privileges, but stood in 
opposition to all educational accomplishments beyond that of 
ability to read the Bible." S. Z. Sharp maintained that "the 
lack of an educated ministry had much to do in retarding the 
establishment of high schools and colleges by members of the 
Church of the Brethren in this period. The ministers of the 

church who had received a liberal education in Germany were 
now all dead." 9 

Recent writers such as Boyers and Demond Bittinger ac- 
cepted this general picture of the wilderness period but found 
that some educational concern was continued, located in the fam- 
ilies and congregations. The problem was largely one of commun- 
ication, owing to the destruction of the Sauer press, the diaspora 
on the frontier, and the language problem (the shift from Ger- 
man to English) . Given these difficulties the Brethren did well 
in perpetuating their faith, but still fell from their high state 
of accomplishment of the pre-Revolutionary era. 10 

This has been a brief, but it is hoped, fair summary of the 
accepted view of Brethren history from the beginnings until 
the mid-nineteenth century. Unfortunately there are serious 
problems with this approach. It contains errors and distortions 
which should be corrected if we are to gain a more balanced 
understanding. Some misperceptions can be traced to a lack of 
historical data ; others, as we shall later attempt to show, seem 
to have arisen out of the perspective and attitudes of those doing 
the writing. 

In the first place, it has been clear for some time that the 
Brethren were not products of European universities, nor were 
they in direct contact with university figures. The one exception 
is that of E. C. Hochmann von Hochenau who indeed left a 
promising university career ; when the Brethren-to-be came into 
contact with him he was engaged in the hazardous life of an 
itinerant preacher. There is evidence in Brethren writings of 
exposure to the writings of Arnold, Felbinger and others. Some 
classical and patristic citations, thought by Sharp to prove 
Mack's advanced education, were taken from a compilation by 
Mehrning on the baptismal question. Certainly the Brethren 1 
sought information in "trustworthy histories" as well as in the 
scriptures, which makes likely the possession of a modest degree 
of learning. The early judgment of Flory about Sauer I holds 
true for the Brethren : "He has been credited with a university 
education and with graduation from a medical college. But such 
statements unsupported by evidence, of course count for little; 
and the fact that the evidence has not been produced is a pretty 
clear indication that it does not exist. . . . He doubtless received 
such education as the schools of his native town provided. . . . 
But that he acquired more than the rudiments in early life is 
highly improbable. Nowhere have I found in his writings the 
mark of scholarship. He was distinctly a self-made man." 11 
Those who have read extensively in the writings of the early 
Brethren would agree with this picture; they reveal the sim- 

plicity and earnestness of relatively untutored men, rather than 
the tortured complexity of the scholarship of their day. Many 
of us would say that their style is the better for it. 

It has not been sufficiently noted that the thesis of out- 
standing cultural contribution in the colonial period rests largely 
on the claim that the first Christopher Sauer was a member of 
the Brethren. In fact, most historians have been content with 
discussing the Sauer family with little attention to other person- 
alities. The reasoning runs something like this : the Sauer press 
demonstrated high achievement and registered many innovations ; 
Sauer was a member of the Brethren; therefore, the Brethren 
rank high in cultural activity. Often the claim is made that Sauer 
made his decision to enter publishing at a love feast of the 
Brethren, and therefore the accomplishments of the press should 
be credited to the Brethren. This was Brumbaugh's word picture : 

May we not pause to think of this love feast? German 
printing for America born at a love feast of the Brethren 
church! The holy men of God so impressed at this early day 
(1738) with the need of additional aid to evangelize America 
call the congregation to a holy communion, and in the spirit 
of the most sacred service of the church the petition is sent to 
God and the need is pressed upon Christopher Sower. He goes 
from this meeting of the church of the Brethren and lo! the 
German press in America begins its mulifarious work! 12 

There are two fatal errors in Brumbaugh's conclusion. This 
love feast was held at the Ephrata Community, not among the 
Brethren ; and Sauer did not accept the offer to become the Com- 
munity's printer. This is especially significant because this 
incident is often cited as proof that Sauer was Brethren. Be- 
cause of their practice of closed communion, if he were present 
at a Brethren love feast he must be a member. It is clear from 
contemporary evidence that Sauer never was a part of the 
Brethren fellowship, although he was warmly sympathetic to 
many of their concerns. He was a religious separatist, and there- 
fore, adverse to any religious organization. 13 

There is another problem with the claims upon the Sauer 
press in relation to Brethren history. The press was purely a 
private enterprise. This remained the case under the ownership 
of Christopher Sauer II who was indeed a member and leader 
of Brethren affiliation. In no way can the products of the Ger- 
mantown press be equated with that of a denominational press 
in the modern sense. Any reader of the Sauer newspaper or 
almanacs is aware of the non-sectarian quality of their content. 
The ethical values of Sauer II which he shared with the Brethren 
certainly are expressed, but it is an individual (albeit important) 
contribution, not a corporate one. That the brotherhood was 


concerned is demonstrated by the church discipline they brought 
upon Sauer for printing a German Reformed catechism. But the 
point was that they were concerned about the reputation for 
honesty of their brother (in making public a teaching which 
favored infant baptism and swearing of oaths among other 
things) and not that they were taking official responsibility for 
a denominational press. This stance was carried over into the 
nineteenth century when early and hesitant approval was given 
to the Kurtz publications because it was a private venture. 

Brethren attitudes toward education seem to be mixed. It is 
true that Sauer II and other Brethren were involved in major 
ways with the founding of the well-known Germantown academy. 
The first sentence of a history of the school stated: "The Ger- 
mantown Academy was born of that alliance of German Sec- 
tarian and British Friend that has given Pennsylvania so much 
that is worthy and substantial." 14 We also have the record of 
the select school established in the Germantown parsonage. But 
there are few records of other Brethren concern for schooling. 
Given their dependence upon the scriptures it is probable that 
they were eager to provide enough schooling to make possible 
the reading of the would be consistent with what is known 
otherwise if the Brethren favored what is now known as ele- 
mentary education while frowning on higher education. While 
the radical Pietists from which they came were educational 
advocates in some ways, they were also highly critical of the 
contemporary patterns of university life with its pride, worldli- 
ness, and affectations. Sauer I liked to refer to men with degrees 
as "Doc-Tor" ("Tor" meaning fool in German). 

Among the early writers Gillin is a minority voice in his 
conclusion that "for many years after their arrival in this coun- 
try, the Dunkers cared little for education. The Germantown 
congregation were in a degree an exception, and it appears that 
Christopher Sauer and his son, Christopher, Jr., made the 
exception. ... It is true that Mack and Beissel were interested 
in literary work of the religious sort, but they were self-taught 
and only by accomodation of language could they be called 
educated men." 15 The fairly high number of identified Brethren 
publications before the Revolutionary War should probably be 
viewed as the result of deep religious conviction (including the 
felt-need to answer religious polemics) rather then the results 
of advanced training. It is akin to the tremendous outpouring 
in print of the early Quakers, few of whom were formally- 
trained persons. 

There is no basis for the repeated claim that the German- 
town Brethren founded the first Protestant Sunday School in 

1735. What took place there were meetings of young people 
caught up in a period of revival. They met for mutual edifica- 
tion and praise. Better grounds for the honor rest with the 
activities of Ludwig Hocker in Ephrata a decade later, who did 
gather local children for instruction in the A.B.C.'s and the 
bible. However, this took place well after the split between the 
Brethren and the Beissel-led movement and can be called Breth- 
ren activity only in the broader sense. The cards bearing 
scriptural texts and verses by Tersteegen which issued from the 
Sauer press in 1744 were meant for devotional reading in private 
or for family worship. They were not Sunday School cards 16 

An important question is what effect the Revolution had 
upon the Brethren. There seems to be unanimity of agreement 
that the shock of the war upon the Brethren disrupted the 
pattern of previous growth and sent them into the wilderness. 
It is thought to mark a sea-change in Brethren development. The 
forced silencing of the Sauer press is held to be central in the 
change, because it had provided intellectual and spiritual lead- 
ership and had served to unify the Brethren. What can be said 
about this? There is little evidence that the Sauer press in fact 
played this role, although no doubt Brethren were numbered 
among readers of the Sauer papers. It is known that Peter 
Leibert, another Brethren figure, reinstituted printing in Ger- 
mantown using much of the Sauer equipment, this beginning 
in 1784. It does not seem to be the case that the position of 
Sauer II among the Brethren was pre-eminent as has often been 
stated. Other leaders, such as Daniel Leatherman, certainly had 
much more influence. 

There is some evidence that the total impact of the Revo- 
lution was not as great as we have sometimes thought. There 
were instances of chicanery and of heavy financial oppression 
through taxes in the middle and southern colonies. There was 
confiscation of goods and commandeering of horses and wagons. 
There does not seem to be the extent of personal suffering 
(although the Sauer family experienced tribulation) and loss of 
life such as the Brethren experienced in the Civil War. The most 
complete history of pacifism in the United States has been 
written by Peter Brock. He concluded that the Brethren suffered 
comparatively little. While admitting that lack of records might 
skew the picture, Brock found that the Brethren were often able 
to work out a modus vivendi with the military authorities "which 
accounts for the apparent absence of hardship undergone as a 
result of a direct refusal to bear arms." 17 

In regard to migration, it is clear that the Brethren were 
moving both south and west in search of land much earlier than 


the Revolution. Recent research has indicated that this shift 
came earlier than had at one time been thought possible. It is 
likely that the pace of Brethren migration increased after the 
Revolutionary War ceased and that they joined other Americans 
taking advantage of the cessation of conflict and the new 
boundary lines drawn. It is also possible that the economic plight 
of the post-war years bore upon them heavily as it did others. 
We should probably look more at the economic influences causing 
migration rather than put emphasis solely on persecution be- 
cause of their pacifist witness. This part of the story needs much 
more research. We may find the brethren reflecting the same 
motivations which caused the general westward exodus. 

We need to look at the paradox noted earlier. The post- 
Revolutionary era was said to be a period of decline but it was 
also the time of great geographical and numerical growth. Rufus 
Bowman called the epoch one of "Expansion and Eclipse." The 
struggle was for subsistence rather than for culture. But "con- 
sidering the new churches established, the brethren communities 
developed and the territory covered, the geographic groundwork 
was laid for the future Church of the Brethren." Mallott made 
the same observation, noting it was "the congregations planted 
then that have increased by division and extension ; the Church 
of 1950 rests upon foundations that were substantially laid by 
1850." Peter Brock was following Rufus Bowman in his obser- 
vations, but pointed out the paradox. "Culturally the Brethren 
retrogressed. Their tight compact communities became cultural 
back-waters; most of their rank-and-file members were almost 
illiterate backwoodsmen, their leaders semi-literate rustic preach- 
ers. . . . But this was only one side of the coin. Over against this 
drying up of the cultural springs of the church's life we may 
set a physical expansion of the membership that by mid-century 
had brought the Brethren to the Pacific coast, dotting the whole 
Midwest and the states of the upper South with church com- 
munities, an expansion that augered well for the future once 
the tide of renewal had begun to flow in the spiritual life of the 
church." 18 How can it be at the time an era of decline and of 
great growth? 

While granting the problems that life on the frontier 
brought to the Brethren, there are good reasons to believe that 
just as the claims for the glories of Brethren achievement in 
the colonial period can be shown to overdrawn, just so can the 
darkness of the wilderness period be shown to be exaggerated. 
It is necessary first of all to emphasize the success of the 
Brethren pattern of church life in meeting the challenges of the 
migration westward. Along with the natural advantages of the 


free church or believers' church forms — the "free ministry", 
practical application of the priesthood of all believers, the wor- 
ship in homes, the lack of formal liturgies — there are two other 
important institutions which did much to preserve Brethren 
unity of doctrine and fellowship. These are the adjoining elder 
system expanded into what approximated the circuit rider, and 
the annual meeting. Philip Boyle, a Brethren leader in Maryland, 
explained both well in a description of the Brethren published 
in 1848. In defining church leadership he remarked: "It is the 
duty of the bishops to travel from one congregation to another, 
not only to preach, but to set in order the things that may be 
wanting ; to be present at their love-feasts and communions, and, 
when teachers and deacons are elected or chosen, or when a 
bishop is to be ordained, or when any member who holds an office 
in the church is to be excommunicated." John Kline's diary gives 
us good insight into the ways in which these traveling brethren 
served as a communication link among the scattered member- 
ship, bringing practical, physical, and social support along with 
the spiritual. 

In describing the annual meeting, Boyle explained how 
decisions were reached and how the results were "recorded and 
printed in the German and English languages, and sent to the 
teachers in all the different congregations in the United States, 
who when they received them, or as soon as convenient, read 
them to the rest of their brethren. By this course of proceeding, 
they preserve a unity of sentiment and opinion throughout all 
their congregations." It may therefore be concluded that the 
Brethren were able to preserve the brotherhood rather effectively 
despite the rapidly growing area over which they were moving, 
with some exceptions. There were losses and defections of seri- 
ous nature. The Restoration (Disciples) movement and the 
Universalists took large numbers and there were other smaller 
schisms. But in fact the Brethren had suffered such losses during 
every period of their development. 19 

One of the worst effects of the wilderness thesis has been 
the denigration of the many accomplishments of Brethren 
church leaders of the early national period. The names of John 
Kline, Peter Nead, Peter Keyser and George Wolfe, Jr. can stand 
for many more. Because this was supposed to have been a dark 
period, their efforts have been given but grudging mention at 

Even on the level of publication, the period is by no means 
barren as often claimed. Along with the Leibert press can be 
placed his contemporaries who were third generation descendants 
of the Sauer printing dynasty. David Sower was located in 


Norristown, Pennsylvania and Samuel Sower developed a very 
large and respected printing business in Baltimore. In Lancaster 
the Baumann family and later J. E. Pfautz were active. The 
Salas printed Brethren material in the Canton, Ohio, area prior 
to Kurtz' beginning efforts. As far as numbers of individual 
publications, the Brethren Bibliography lists more than four 
times as many titles for the period from 1778 to 1850 as for the 
period 1713-1778. Some of these are reprints but that is also 
true of the earlier period. In the area of doctrinal writing, one 
finds the efforts of Christian Longanecker, Jacob Stoll, Peter 
Bowman, Benjamin Bowman, and in place of first prominence, 
Peter Nead. It is important to note that his famous Theology 
(published in 1850), was a compilation of his earlier writings 
which he began publishing in 1833-34. Henry Holsinger com- 
mented at one point that the apparent barrenness of the colonial 
period was owing to ignorance of the actual production. 20 The 
same comment can be made for the post-Revolutionary time. 

We have thus far tried to show that many of the claims for 
the colonial period should be discarded and that the achievements 
of the wilderness period should be rightfully highlighted. It re- 
mains to offer some suggestions about the reasons for the intro- 
duction and elaboration of the wilderness thesis. It should first 
be stated that we are all the beneficiaries of the labors of our 
predecessors and must remember this advantage. It should be 
little merit for us if we could not make some advances. It would 
also be unfair to charge knowing bias and distortion to the early 
writers. Rather, it seems to me to be a case of the needs which 
they brought to their task. 

Brumbaugh, Holsinger, Wayland, and Flory and the others 
felt themselves attacked on two fronts. On the one hand they 
were conscious of belonging to a religious body commonly thought 
to be a backward, rural sect. As they moved into the circles of 
wider society and advanced learning, they must have been un- 
comfortable with the sneers about the "dumb Dutch," and 
Lancaster County "where the Dunkers are thick." (In 1928 a 
sociologist urged his colleagues to forego the study of the totem 
dances of the Australians or the taboos of the Bantus to study 
the footwashing of the Brethren.) Along with the ethnic societies 
of the time, they wrote what is technically called "filio-pietistic" 
history, out of some feelings of inferiority. In the preface to his 
history, Brumbaugh complained that "perhaps no religious sect 
is so little understood and so persistently misrepresented as the 
German Baptist Brethren. Their name, their belief, their his- 
tory, all are unknown to the general reader and even to the 
scholar who fails to consult ultimate sources. It is of course not 


necessary to notice the malicious mis-statements of prejudiced 
and bigoted zealots. . . ." In addition to providing a record of 
the early Church, he set out his aim as using "this record as a 
defense of primitive Christianity as believed, interpreted, and 
practiced by the church of the German Baptist Brethren." 21 
What a satisfaction in this context to point to such an outstand- 
ing person as a Christopher Sauer with all his genius and ability. 
If the more prestigious churches could take pride in tradition 
of educated clergy, there was readiness to believe that the 
founders of their own Brethren faith had equally advanced 

On the other side, these writers were challenged by the 
conservative element in the church who believed that such 
institutions as academies and colleges, Sunday schools, literary 
activities and the like were innovations and moreover partook 
of the world. We must recall that the writers of the histories 
had thrown their lives into such institutions. These writers were 
college professors and presidents, editors and publishers. How 
were they to meet the challenge of their critics? 

As they surveyed the historical past they were delighted 
to find (as they thought) that the early Brethren had a record 
of high attainment in just these areas. What better argument 
could they bring to bear, especially because their opponents 
consistently appealed to tradition? If the tradition could be 
shown to be one of pioneering in education, publishing, and 
literary endeavor, the critics' position would be undercut. To 
the cry of "innovation" could be countered the cry of "restora- 
tion." Thus in one of Flory's books, he says of the post-1850 era : 
"[T]he church was beginning to reach out again for some of 
those fine things in its past life that it had, for the time being, 
lost. . . . The church was coming back. . . . And it is significant 
that most of the things in which the new generation was 
expressing itself were in keeping with the ideals that the church 
had fostered in its early history : so that the new life manifested 
in the church was not something wild, sensational, extraneous, 
or foreign to the Church of the Brethren. It was a revival of 
the ancient spirit which the church had started and in some 
instances the new expression was almost in identical terms with 
that of the early church." In Brumbaugh's words: "We began 
an educated and powerful church. Let us try with all our energies 
to restore the church to its early and splendid history." Wayland 
remarked that the colonial period of the church was remarkable 
for the number and character of important enterprises that were 
then inaugurated: "Pastoral work, church charities, and home 
missions, opposition to slavery and promulgation of peace 


principles, Sunday schools, higher education, religious and 
secular printing, theological and devotional literature, music, 
art, all had fruitful beginnings and powerful revivals; and in 
a few of these forms of activity the church has only recently 
recovered herself the laudable position she occupied a century 
and a half ago" (written in 1908). 22 

These men were vitally involved in church reform and re- 
newal as they understood them. They recognized that history 
could be a powerful weapon in their armory. They could be the 
true conservatives, calling the church back to what it had once 
known. In 1876 the note was already sounded in an article which 
claimed the first Sunday school for the Brethren. "We suppose 
it will startle some of our Brethren when we tell them that the 
first Sunday school ever introduced, was started by the Breth- 
ren, but facts are stubborn things, when we wish to avoid them, 
but in this one we glory as it will effectually remove that 
imaginary stigma cast upon the institution by saying, 'In this 
thing, like many others, we are patterning after the world.' Some 
of our early Brethren manifested a zeal and spirit of enterprise 
that ought now to put us to shame when we see and learn how 
little we have done and are now doing." And Flory judged that 
"this excellent beginning in our denominational history should 
be a source of encouragement to those among us who have been 
working to bring about, to a still greater extent, a similar state 
of affairs in our own time." His vision was clear for the Breth- 
ren of his day in relation to that of an earlier time. "The church 
of the Brethren of that time was an aggressive body, small in 
number, but generous in spirit. . . . The church of today will do 
well to inform itself about the history of the early church and 
revive its spirit in our modern life." 23 

With these attitudes and hopes it is not surprising that they 
saw the early history through the spectacles of their dreams 
for their beloved brotherhood. I think it may fairly be said of 
them something akin to what a conservative critic said of the 
Protestant historian and theologian Adolph Harnack: "The 
Christ that Harnack sees, looking back through nineteen cen- 
turies of Catholic darkness, is only the reflection of a liberal 
Protestant face seen at the bottom of a deep well." 24 The 
Brethren that our earlier historians saw back through the 
seventy-five years of wilderness darkness was to some extent a 
reflection of their own position and hopes for the church. The 
historical error was attempting to understand the early Brethren 
within the modern context, rather than seeking to understand 
the Brethren in the original context. It led to such statements 
as that made by J. H. Moore when writing in the Schaff-Herzog 


encyclopedia about the colonial Brethren. ". . . they began 
emigrating to America, settling first at Germantown, Pa., where 
denominational headquarters were established, [emphasis add- 
ed]" In the Brethren's and Family Almanac for 1897 he wrote 
of the early Brethren and their "reformatory movement" in 
Germantown : "They were soon favored with a large publishing 
house, and sent forth a vast amount of literature. Here they also 
held Sunday school long before these schools were known among 
the leading denominations. And some of the Sunday school 
literature, in the form of cards, is still in existence." 25 It is quite 
plain that Moore, himself deeply involved in the establishment 
of a denominational headquarters, in the beginnings of a new 
publishing house, and in the production of Sunday school liter- 
ature, was transposing terms and concepts familiar to him back 
upon the early history. To a less obvious degree, many of the 
other historians were doing the same. 

We have primarily been engaged in analysis and criticism, 
attempting to show the ways in which the traditional view of 
Brethren history falls short of full congruence to the record now 
as available to us. A more important task, that of synthesis — 
the creation of a more adequate interpretation — remains to be 
done. This will probably take the form of a steadier, less erratic 
line of development, without the peaks and valleys of the "rise, 
fall and revival" view of the Brethren story. It should relate 
the Brethren much more to the general historical movements of 
the time. Brethren expansion and congregation-building could 
add significant detail to what is already known about the frontier 
activities of the Baptists, Methodists, and Disciples. It is to be 
hoped that this meeting will bring us several steps forward in 
this important undertaking. History can fulfill its function of 
perspective best to the degree that it accurately records and 
interprets. Human limitations being what they are, our best 
efforts will not avoid failings. Perhaps gatherings comparable 
to this in the future will be able to show areas of distortion or 
blindspots in our labors unknown and unknowable to us today. 
In all of this, may we be guided by a text which was commended 
recently to a class on research methods, found in I Thessalon- 
ians 5:21: "Test everything: hold fast what is good." 


1 Bibliographical references may be found in the annotated listing 
in D. F. Durnbaugh, ed., The Church of the Brethren: Past and Present 
(Elgin, 111.: Brethren Press, 1971), p. 170ff. 

2 For Kurtz' problems, see "The History of the Brethren," Monthly 
Gospel Visiter, 4 (1854), 1 : 17-20: "Our main object is, to make the earliest 


history of our brotherhood as complete as possible, and not to commence 
it, until we are fully prepared. For the latter, and especially for the latest 
part (our own times) of this history we have perhaps as many materials 
as any brother living, yet experience has taught us, that this part is to be 
left over to those who may come after us, when all our predilections and 
prejudices and partialities have been buried with us." For Cassel, see Marlin 
L. Heckman, "Abraham Harley Cassel, Nineteenth Century Pennsylvania 
German Book Collector," Publications of the Pennsylvania German Society, 
7 (Breinigsville, Pa.: 1973), 105-208 (especially pp. 157-165). The quo- 
tation is from Martin G. Brumbaugh, History of the German Baptist 
Brethren (Mount Morris, II.: Brethren Publishing House, 1899), xii. The 
press is hereafter cited as "BPH." 

3 Auburn A. Boyers, "Changing Concepts of Education in the 
Church of the Brethren," (unpubl. dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 
1969); Albert T. Ronk, History of the Brethren Church (Ashland , Ohio: 
Brethren Publishing Co., 1968); J. M. Kimmel, Chronicles of the Brethren 
(Covington, Ohio: Little Printing Co., 1951). A typical expression of the 
way in which the story has been utilized by the church is found in the article 
by Miles Taber, "The Challenge of our Heritage," Brethren Missionary 
Herald, 20 (Nov. 29, 1958), 48: 8-9. 

4 Floyd E. Mallott, Studies in Brethren History (Elgin, 111.: BPH, 
1954), 45-46. See also John S. Noffsinger, A Program for Higher Education 
in the Church of the Brethren (New York: Teachers College, Columbia 
University, 1925), 1: Boyers, "Conceptions," 2-3. 

5 Otho Winger, History and Doctrines of the Church of the 
Brethren (Elgin, 111.: BPH, 1920), 159. 

6 D. L. Miller, ed., Two Centuries of the Church of the Brethren 
(Elgin, 111.: BPH, 1908), 10-11, 26. 

7 Two Centuries, 307-08, 310. See also S. Z. Sharp, Educational 
History of the Church of the Brethren (Elgin, 111.: BPH, 1923), 19-32. 

8 John S. Flory, Flashlights from History (Elgin, 111.: BPH, 1932), 
141, 146; Ronk, History, p. 72 (chapter title: "The Brethren Mind of 
Seventy-Five Silent Years"): John L. Gillin, The Dunkers (New York, 
1906), 154. 

9 J. S. Flory, "Literary Activities of the Brethren in the Nineteenth 
Century," Yearbook of the Church of the Brethren 1919 (Elgin, 111.: BPH, 
1918), 41; Holsinger's History of the Tunkers and the Brethren Church 
(Lathrop, Calif.: Pacific Press Publishing Co., 1901), 269; Sharp, Educa- 
tional History, 40. 

10 Boyers, "Conceptions," 70; Desmond Bittinger, "Educational 
Activity," in Past and Present, 81-82. 

11 John S. Flory, Literary Activity of the German Baptist Brethren 
in the Eighteenth Century (Elgin, 111.: BPH, 1908), 41-42. 

12 Brumbaugh, History, 351. 

13 See D. F. Durnbaugh, "Was Christopher Sauer a Dunker?" 
Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 93 (1969), 383-391. 

14 Quoted in Kit Schoff, "German Sectarian and British Friend," 
The American-German Review, 26 (1959-1960), 2:17-19. 

1 5 Gillin, Dunkers, 209. 

1 6 See R. Jan Thompson, "The Birth of the Sunday School Move- 
ment in the Church of the Brethren," Brethren Life and Thought, 15 ( 1970), 


217-229; Oswald Seidensticker,77ie First Century of German Printing in 
America (Philadelphia: Schaefer and Koradi, 1893), 23. 

17 Peter Brock, Pacifism in the United States (Princeton: University 
Press, 1968), 269. 

18 Rufus Bowman, The Church of the Brethren and War (Elgin, 
111.: BPH, 1944), 101; Mallott, Studies, 133-134; Brock, Pacifism, 404-405. 

19 Philip Boyle, "History of the German Baptists, or Brethren," in 
John Winebrenner, History of Denominations in the United States, 2nd, rev. 
ed. (Harrisburg, Pa.: the author, 1848), 91-94. The most recent study of 
Brethren schisms is Robert B. Blair, "Modernisation and Subgroup Forma- 
tion in a Religious Organization: A Case Study of the Church of the 
Brethren," (unpubl. dissertation, Northwestern University, 1974); a com- 
prehensive listing of Brethren "subgroups" or schisms is found on pages 

20 Holsinger, History, 263; D. F. Durnbaugh and L. W. Shultz, 
eds. "A Brethren Bibliography, 1713-1963," Brethren Life and Thought, 9 
(Winter and Spring 1964), 11-36. 

21 Brumbaugh, History, xii, xvi. 

22 Flory, Flashlights, 154; Brumbaugh, Two Centuries, 26; Wayland, 
Two Centuries, 63. 

23 Quoted by Elizabeth Myers, Two Centuries, 263; Flory, Two 
Centuries, 331; John S. Flory, "A History of Education in the Church of 
the Brethren," in Educational Blue Book and Directory of the Church of 
the Brethren, eds. W. A. Cable and H. F. Sanger (Elgin, 111.; General Edu- 
cational Board, 1923), 27-28. 

24 Quoted in John Dillenberger and Claude Welch, Protestant 
Christianity (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1954), 221. 

25 J. H. Moore, "Dunkers" (Dunkards, Tunkers), The New Schaff- 
Herzog Encyclopedia 4 (1910), 24-26; "The Brethren and their Reformatory 
Movement," Brethren's and Family Almanac (1897), 4-15. 


The Wilderness Aspect of the Brethren 
Movement — The Reasons for It 

Homer A. Kent, Sr. 

FOLLOWING the Revolutionary War the major segment of 
the Brethren movement entered upon what has often been 
called "the church in the wilderness." The reasons for this seem 
quite clear. The Revolutionary War brought great trial to the 
Brethren people. One of their beliefs was that it was wrong for 
the Christian to engage in carnal conflict. This brought them 
quickly into disrepute with those in authority in the colonies. The 
colonial government passed a law which was aimed directly at 
these people and the Quakers who held similar views on war. 
This law required every citizen of the colony to subscribe to an 
oath renouncing allegiance to the British government and pledg- 
ing allegiance to the colony of Pennsylvania. 

Two things relating to this matter the Brethren could not 
do and be true to their convictions, namely, go to war or take 
an oath. Some whose convictions were not very deep acquiesced 
to the popular pressure and followed the demands of the govern- 
ment. Such was the disappointing case of the two sons of the 
second Christopher Sower and their families who practically 
renounced the Brethren faith in favor of Loyalism. There were 
others who remained true to their convictions and stayed in 
Germantown and its vicinity, often suffering severe persecutions 
such as loss of property, scorn and ridicule. 

But there was a third group which fled from the scene of 
persecution. They were like the disciples in Acts, chapter eight, 
who because of severe persecution left Jerusalem and became 
widely scattered. They were also like their fore-fathers in Ger- 
many who because of the stress of the times left their home 
country for America. And so the War was responsible for tides 
of emigration which flowed southward and westward. In follow- 
ing this course of action, they often had to leave behind them 
most of their earthly possessions, taking with them only that 
which could be transported in wagons, on horseback, or in boats. 


Into Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, West- 
ern Pennsylvania and beyond they went to carve out for them- 
selves new homes and a new livelihood. They became a rural 
people and depended upon farming for sustenance, whereas be- 
fore this they were engaged in trades of various sorts — shopkeep- 
ing, weaving, tailoring and the like. Ofttimes they became widely 
separated as individuals and groups and had little communica- 
tion with each other although they usually emigrated in colonies. 
As John Flory says in his Flashlights from History, "The church 
had literally buried itself in the forests and on the prairies of 
the new world" (p. 115). It settled itself in little groups in a 
dozen states from the Atlantic to the Pacific. 

Because of its extreme isolation it is not difficult to under- 
stand why the church of this period has been called "The church 
in the wilderness." It became mainly interested in its own affairs 
and did not look far beyond its own horizons. It had limited edu- 
cational advantages with the result that the church could not 
build up a strong leadership until this situation was rectified. 
But having said this, it must be noted that these folk possessed 
a thriftiness that enabled them to get along in the world and to 
compel the admiration of those who observed their industry and 
wholesome homelife. They also possessed a sincere love for the 
Word and Ways of God and a childlike faith that expressed 
itself in humble, upright living that was sure to make itself felt 
in days to come. "Their word is as good as their bond," was a 
statement often made regarding these people. The Brethren 
movement had become distinctly rural with a rural atmosphere 
pervading all its activitiy, and so it continued for many years 
and still is to be observed in many areas with some modifications. 

Lack of the Printed Page 

Contributing to this wilderness character (some have called 
it the period of the doldrums), are a number of factors, some 
of which I wish to consider briefly. One was the lack of the 
printed page. The confiscation of the Sower Press with its 
hundreds of publications, the greatest of which were the three 
editions of the Sower Bible, deprived the church of printed 
literature. This lack was especially felt by the Brethren who 
left the vicinity of Philadelphia and Germantown. It was 
difficult for them to keep abreast of the times. They had to learn 
to get along without printed material. They became solely con- 
cerned with their own local interests in the various rural areas 
where they settled. It was difficult for them even to receive 
communications from those they left behind in the Germantown 


They had no church publications and became satisfied to 
leave it that way. Henry Kurtz was responsible for the first 
church paper in the Brotherhood and this was not until 1851. 
Kurtz was educated in Germany and became a pastor in the 
Lutheran church, but after coming to America in 1819 he became 
dissatisfied with some of the Lutheran doctrines and under the 
influence of Elder George Hoke he cast his lot with the Brethren 
in 1828. A sort of David and Jonathan friendship developed 
between Kurtz and Hoke. To Hoke, Kurtz first made known the 
burden of his heart to see a paper published for the benefit of 
the Brethren church. Conversations ensued between the two 
men about the matter. Mrs. Kurtz evidently got into the act and 
is recorded as having said to her husband, "Henry, I have often 
wondered whether the Brethren forgot they could read after 
the Sower press was destroyed" (Virginia Fisher, The Story 
of the Brethren, p. 76). Doubtless there was a sense of humor 
in her remark, yet it was a reflection of the conditions which 
had developed in the church during the seventy-five years since 
the Revolutionary War. The Gospel Visitor was the name of the 
monthly paper which appeared. It was published in the loft of 
the springhouse on the Henry Kurtz farm near Poland, Ohio. 
With its appearance Henry Holsinger remarked that the Gospel 
Visitor "ushered in the progressive era in the Tunker church" 
(History, p. 470). Kurtz found the way difficult in starting his 
new venture, so used were they to being without anything like 
this that they looked upon it as an innovation. The Annual Meet- 
ing did not stand in the way of its publication but did nothing 
in particular to boost its circulation. Kurtz, Hoke, Holsinger and 
a few others felt this was an important way to bring the Brethren 
closer together, to acquaint them with the events of the day 
especially in relation to the church. But four years after the 
first issue, the circulation was only about 600. However, this 
was a beginning and marked a turning point in the history of 
the church. 

The lack of interest which Kurtz experienced in this enter- 
prise shows something of the indifference into which the people 
had settled. Moreover, it shows a serious lack of means for the 
furtherance of the Lord's work. Not only did they not have a 
monthly paper until the appearance of the Gospel Visitor, neither 
did they have Sunday School quarterlies, youth helps, Bible study 
aids, etcetera. Imagine our churches today with no Messenger, 
no Evangelist, no Vindicator, no Missionary Herald, no Sunday 
School quarterlies, and no youth directive materials ! No wonder 
there was a tendancy toward stagnation. It is a wonder they did 
as well as they did! 


Lack of Schools of Learning 

Another lack that dominated the wilderness period was 
the absence of schools of higher learning. Even as late as 1853, 
in response to a query sent to the Annual Meeting this conclusion 
was handed down: "Considered that we would deem colleges 
a very unsafe place for a simple follower of Christ, inasmuch 
as they are calculated to lead us astray from the faith and 
obedience to the Gospel" (Minutes, Apr. 28, 1853). Such was not 
the attitude before the exodus from the Germantown area. The 
Sower press put forth an amazing volume of material tending 
toward raising the level of education in those days. Well over 
200 titles of books, pamphlets, almanacs, articles and such like 
have been left to us; the most important, of course, were the 
three editions of the Sower Bible in 1743, 1763, and 1776. 
Christopher Sower the Younger became a strong supporter of 
all proper means of education for the youth of the land. He 
showed his interest in a very definite way by assisting in found- 
ing and maintaining the famous and still flourishing German- 
town Academy. He served as trustee of the Academy for many 
years and was president of the board on two occasions. "Like 
his illustrious father, he was an apostle of light to the Germans 
of America," so said Dr. Martin Brumbaugh {History, p. 412). 

Whereas in the days of the Macks and the Sowers education 
was given a prominent place, in the period of our consideration 
education seems to have been looked down upon, definitely 
feared. Another query about members sending their sons to 
college received this answer: "Considered not advisable inas- 
much as experience has taught that such very seldom come back 
afterward to the humble ways of the Lord" (Minutes, Art. 1, 
1831). The same attitude prevailed with respect to high schools. 
This attitude could not help but have its effect on the caliber of 
church leadership and its ministry. We doubtless can sympathize 
to a degree at least with these folk as we look upon many schools 
today with their liberal, atheistic and non-Biblical bent but surely 
there is a place for the Christian College, Bible Institutes and 
Theological Seminaries which are founded upon the Word of 
God. Where would we be without them? 

During the wilderness period they had no such institutions. 
By and large strong leaders were not developed. Of course there 
were some notable exceptions such as George Hoke, Peter Nead, 
John Kline, Adam Paine, Jacob Leatherman, and George Wolfe 
to mention a few. For the most part the elders were self-trained. 
Their preaching was often of a rambling nature, mostly lacking 
in homiletical structure. They were not paid a salary so they 
worked all week on the farm and did the best they could to keep 


their parishioners awake on Sunday with their over-long ser- 
mons. The reason assigned for not paying their elders in those 
days was that the Gospel is free, so why should hearers pay to 
hear it preached ? These elders had no training in administration 
and so there was little constructive planning in the work of the 
church. Ofttimes an elder had more than one congregation to 
oversee so that services, usually only in the morning, were not 
held every Sunday in a particular location. Apparently they had 
no Monday morning ministerial meetings to plan for programs 
ahead. They were not much concerned with statistical reports 
concerning gains and losses in attendance and amounts given to 
various phases of the Lord's work in their districts. Each elder 
was pretty much on his own in his particular area to minister 
as he saw fit. 

Looking at the situation there were some who began to feel 
the need for better training for their elders. They saw what other 
denominational groups were doing. This brought into focus the 
need for schools beyond the grammar school level. This was a 
further sign of a progressive spirit that began to be felt toward 
the close of the wilderness period, in the 1850's. It coincides with 
the emergence of the printing press previously discussed. Many 
frowned upon such thoughts feeling that colleges and similar 
institutions were "calculated to lead us astray from the faith 
and obedience to the Gosper' (Minutes, Art. 28, 1853). But 
the need was not to be denied. In 1852 Jacob Miller, of Buffalo 
Mills, Pennsylvania, blazed the trail. Being a public-school teach- 
er in Pennsylvania for several years with marked success, he 
became impressed with the idea that he ought to devote his ability 
toward lifting the standard of education among the young people 
of his own church. Consequently in that year he erected a build- 
ing at his own expense for the purpose. At the outset the school 
proved popular, but it lasted only one year because of the illness 
and subsequent death of its founder. 

But the new spirit exemplified by Miller was to bear fruit. 
Another effort was made in 1859 in Rockingham County, 
Virginia, near Broadway. A large building was provided and a 
school was instituted named Cedar Grove Seminary. John Kline, 
John J. Bowman and Daniel Miller were leaders in this move- 
ment. This school like the former did not last long. These two 
schools were primarily of the elementary type but gave some 
courses considerably in advance of the public schools of their 
day. A third attempt was made in 1861 in Miflin County, Penn- 
sylvania, where Professor S. Z. Sharp took charge of the 
Kishacoquillas Seminary and made it a Brethren school. It 
offered some college work. But its life was brief. Though start- 


ing off auspiciously, after five years it had to close its doors 
for lack of patronage. The failure of such an outstanding scholar 
as Professor Sharp points out the difficulties and lack of interest 
in promoting higher education in those days. 

Other attempts to establish schools of higher education 
ended without success. But the encouraging thing about it all 
was that there was a new viewpoint developing in the Brother- 
hood which in the end would bear fruit and help to lead it out 
of the wilderness. Shortly after the Civil War some of these 
dreams were to be realized. 

An institution noticeably missing in the wilderness period 
was the Sunday School. This was not always so, for Dr. Martin 
Brumbaugh goes so far as to say that "The Brethren may . . . 
justly claim to be the founders of Sunday schools" (History, p. 
464). He goes on to say that "no sect ever devoted more care 
to the training of its children than did the early Brethren. That 
this pioneer activity should have been abandoned is as inex- 
plicable as the reluctance with which a few still oppose Sunday 
Schools on the ground that they are innovations" (ibid.). Dr. 
Brumbaugh was thinking of Germantown and Ephrata when 
he wrote like this. He calls attention to Ludwig Hoecker who 
was the leader of schools in both these places at least closely 
approximating the present day Sunday School. Dr. Otho Winger, 
outstanding leader and author in the Church of the Brethren, 
was impressed with the care the early Brethren gave to their 
young people in this regard and wonders why they should have 
come to neglect this duty, and even to oppose it, unless it was 
due to the absence among them of any church literature as we 
have already seen (See History, p. 180). 

It is quite evident then that during the period of our dis- 
cussion there were few if any Sunday Schools. It was the 
prevailing feeling that such schools were an innovation that 
smacked of worldliness. Critical remarks were made about the 
raucous music aided by musical instruments witnessed in some 
Sunday Schools in other denominations. At the Annual Meeting 
of 1838 a query was presented asking, "Whether it be right for 
members to take part in Sunday Schools, class meetings, and 
the like?" The answer was loud and clear, "Considered most 
advisable to take no part in such like things" (Minutes, Art. 10) . 

Youth Activities Neglected 

As previously noted what was true of Sunday Schools also 

pertained to youth activities of other kinds. Could you have 

visited the Brethren churches of this period you would have 

found not only no Sunday Schools but no young peoples societies, 


no youth rallies or camps, no Bible quizz matches, no talent 
competition exercises and the like which are so prevalent today 
in many of our churches. It appears that there was a definite 
lack in these matters. Not only was there a deficiency in the 
training of youth in the churches but the absence of Sunday 
Schools and youth programs deprived a lot of laymen the 
privilege of teaching the Word of God and lay administration. 
But no doubt this deficiency was in a measure cared for by the 
close-knit homelife and neighborhood fellowship they experienced 
in those days. 

Significantly, following the 1850's a new trend began to 
develop. At the Annual Meeting of 1857 in answer to a query, 
"How is it considered for Brethren to have Sunday Schools 
conducted by Brethren?" this answer came, "Inasmuch as we 
are commanded to bring up our children in the nurture and 
admonition of the Lord, we know of no Scripture which condemns 
Sabbath schools, if conducted in gospel order, and if they are 
made the means of teaching scholars a knowledge of the Scrip- 
tures" (Minutes, Art. 11). By the year 1875 Sunday Schools 
were operating in almost all sections of the Brotherhood. This 
new trend also began to show itself in other efforts to train the 
youth of the Church. 

Foreign Missions Overlooked 
Another characteristic that settled down upon the Brethren 
was the lack of a missionary vision. Elgin S. Moyer in his book, 
Missions in the Church of the Brethren, in reference to the 
period under consideration, says, "For seventy-five years the 
church was contented to live largely unto itself and consequently 
failed to develop into an aggressive missionary body" (p. 149). 
He makes the further remark regarding Christian activities 
following the Revolutionary War : "Then, at the time when many 
other churches were beginning foreign missionary work, the 
Church of the Brethren withdrew from its literary and educa- 
tional interest and activity, and became a secluded church of 
the frontier" (ibid.) In spite of this lack of vision of the regions 
beyond their own borders, the church did receive hundreds of 
members into its fellowship, largely from their own families 
and neighbors. But there were no missionary societies, no mis- 
sionary boards, no recruits being trained for missionary en- 
deavor in foreign fields, no missionary rallies to stir up interest 
in spreading the Gospel across the world. What missionary work 
there was was strictly of the home missionary variety. 

Not until the end of the period under discussion do we find 
an encouraging stirring with respect to missionary responsi- 


bility. In the conference minutes of 1852 there was a definite 
acknowledgement of foreign missionary responsibility. Nothing 
specific was done about it, and as Galen Royer says in his book 
Thirty-three Years of Missions, "The prevailing sentiment was 
far from missionary" (p. 34). The church felt that its main 
duty was to conserve the faith rather than to spread it. But at 
least at this time they were beginning to think more definitely 
about the matter. In 1853 they expressed themselves to the effect 
that Brethren emigrating westward would do well to situate 
themselves advantageously to evangelism. Articles on the respon- 
sibility of missions were beginning to appear in the Gospel 
Visitor and elsewhere. Other actions were taken by Annual 
meetings in 1856 and 1858 looking toward action in the realm 
of foreign missions. Then the Civil War intervened and practical 
interest in these matters was held in abeyance. 

The first foreign mission board in the Brethren church was 
formed in November of 1875 by the district of Illinois. This 
board became instrumental in beginning the first foreign mission 
work among the Brethren in 1876 and sent Christian Hope to 
Denmark in that year. This event is outside the limitations of 
our subject, and so I will not deal further with it except to ob- 
serve with Elgin S. Moyer in his Missions in the Church of the 
Brethren regarding this event, "It was an event that was to lead 
directly to the beginning of the foreign missionary enterprise 
of the church" (p. 150). 

Thus it is quite evident that all during the wilderness period 
of our history there was no organized plan of foreign missionary 
effort. Of course, it must be recognized that many of these people 
were Germans and witnessed to a goodly number of English 
people as they established themselves in the various parts of 
our country. We do have isolated examples of men like Adam 
Paine (1780-1832) who preached to the Indians of Northern 
Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. Dr. L. W. Shultz states that 
he "preached in the tiny village of Chicago" {Mural History, 
p. 17). For the most part, however, the Brethren seemed pretty 
much concerned for themselves, carving out a new life in this 
new land. The situation seems not to have been much different 
in the Germantown area from which the exodus began. 

Can we imagine what it would be like in our present day 
churches if there was no foreign missionary vision, no mission- 
aries from foreign lands to challenge us with what God is doing 
there under their ministries, no appeals for funds to support 
ministries across the seas, no challenges to lift us out of our- 
selves and to heed the Great Commission? 


Fenced in from the World 

Thus hampered in the ways just considered and others as 
well, we see the church composed of earnest, thrifty, God-fearing 
people but very largely cut off from the rest of the world. It 
had literally buried itself in the forests and on the prairies of 
the new world. Unconsciously it had built a fence around itself 
and was content to live unto itself. Most of the members were 
farmers. They built their own homes and furnished them with 
simple homemade furniture. There were no pictures on the walls, 
particularly of people. This was looked upon as vanity. There 
were no carpets on the floor. A large spinning wheel in the corner 
of the living room was one of the instruments used for providing 
clothing for the family. The home of the elder was often used 
for preaching services until the latter part of the period when 
spacious church buildings began to appear. Educational oppor- 
tunities were very scanty. There was no church paper nor mag- 
azines and ofttimes the Bible was the only book in the house. 
And, of course, there was no daily newspaper to keep them 
abreast of the times. But while they were backward in their 
ways, it must not be forgotten that they did not forget their 
Christian faith. It kept them during all the period. It is to be 
regretted, however, that they were so slow in obtaining a world- 
wide vision of evangelism. 

By 1850 they had developed fixed views of life. This was 
reflected in the homes they built, the character and arrangement 
of their farm buildings and in their church buildings and form 
of services. It was definitely manifest in their form of dress, 
both of the men and the women. On this latter matter listen to 
John Flory : "It established a form of dress for the purpose of 
preventing change. When the hoop skirt, the bustle, and the 
high sleeves later came as ornaments of woman's dress, the prin- 
ciple of plainness also became a motive for protest against 
change" (Flashlights, p. 145). They were marked by their 
conservatism wherever they went. As Flory continues to remark, 
"A monotonous conformity to a type had settled down upon the 
church" (ibid. p. 141). There were some distinctions to be 
observed in the latter matters in the various communities. Dr. 
Flory comments further about the Brethren of this period, "It 
has lost its breadth of vision. It has lost aggressiveness. It has 
lost the cultural atmosphere that formerly surrounded it" (ibid, 
p. 141). 

The church of this period frowned upon taking any part 
in politics or elections. And no brother should hold a govern- 
mental office. Surely definite changes in attitude were to take 
place in the next generation to allow an outstanding brother 


like Martin G. Brumbaugh to become governor of Pennsylvania 
in 1914, and before this to permit Steven H. Bashor, successful 
Brethren evangelist, to run for Congress though unsuccessfully 
following 1883. 

The preaching of this time was very earnest and sincere 
but lacking in depth. Much of it was given over to rambling 
messages from Genesis to Revelation, messages overbalanced 
with exhortations against worldliness and much emphasis given 
to the distinctive doctrines of the Brethren. The ministry was 
lacking in the dynamic of the risen Christ with a gospel for the 
whole world. In short the church was in a rut and needed some 
saving influences to lift it out of the doldrums. How could it 
have been otherwise with no efficient scholastic training for 
the leadersip of the church? 

It is not the purpose of this paper to deal with the experi- 
ences of the church following the Civil War, but it is encouraging 
to note that following this critical period the church began to 
take on constructive ways. Shortly before the War there were 
stirrings that bespoke better days for the church. It had learned 
some lessons from the lethargy of the preceding decades and 
was awakening to a broader ministry. Some notable men like 
John Kline, Daniel Sayler, James Quinter, Henry Kurtz, Henry 
Holsinger and George Wolfe, to mention just a few, began to 
realize the importance of the Biblical principle, "Where there 
is no vision, the people perish" (Prov. 29:18). The printed page 
experienced more frequent usage, institutions of higher learning 
began to appear, Sunday Schools found a place in many of the 
churches, and evangelism began to be emphasized. A new day 
was emerging! 

In closing, we will do well to heed the lessons the wilderness 
period of the Brethren has to teach us. Let us be encouraged to 
make the Bible the center and circumference of our denomina- 
tional life. In spite of some definite failures during this period 
adherence to the Word of God was what held the wilderness 
people together. Let us value as never before the potent ministry 
of the printed page. Let us pray for better magazines, better 
books and more and better writers to enhance this ministry. 
Let us realize the place and importance of Christian schools in 
our Brotherhood and use our influence to keep them in harmony 
with the principles of the Word of God. Let us take a new look at 
our Sunday Schools and see how we can help to make them better 
agents in our churches to the edification of our membership. 
Let us realize anew that our churches cannot grow strong as 
they ought to be without a dedicated and well trained ministry. 
And last, but not least, let us learn from the lack in the wild- 


erness period, the importance of a vigorous program of outreach 
for the lost millions across the world. This is our commission! 


Brumbaugh, Martin G. A History of the German Baptist Brethren in Europe 
and America. North Manchester, Indiana: Reprinted by L. W. 
Shultz, 1961. 

Fisher, Virginia S. The Story of the Brethren, Elgin, Illinois: Brethren Pub- 
lishing House, 1957. 

Holsinger, Henry R. History of the Tunkers and the Brethren Church, Oak- 
land, California: Pacific Press Publishing Co., 1901. 

Kent, Homer A. Conquering Frontiers, Winona Lake, Indiana: BMH Books, 

"Material on Christopher Sower and Son," Pennsylvania German Society, 
LIII (1948). 

Moyer, Elgin S. Missions in the Church of the Brethren, Elgin, Illinois: 
Brethren Publishing House, 1931. 

Royer, Galen B. Thirty-Three Years of Missions in the Church of the 
Brethren, Elgin, Illinois: Brethren Publishing House 1913. 

Sharp, S. Z. The Educational History of the Church of the Brethren, Elgin, 
Illinois: Brethren Publishing House, 1923. 

The General Mission Board, Minutes of the Annual Meetings of the 
Brethren, Elgin, Illinois: Brethren Publishing House, 1909. 

Winger, Otho. History and Doctrines of the Church of the Brethren, Elgin, 
Illinois: Brethren Publishing House, 1919. 


What Were the Brethren Doing 
Between 1785 and 1860? 

Roger E. Sappington 

EVERY generation of historians has several responsibilities, it 
seems to me. It should seek for new and unutilized evidence 
about the past. It should interpret that evidence in meaningful 
ways. And it should seek ways of sharing the evidence and the 
interpretations with other interested historians. It is my pur- 
pose in this paper and in a second which I shall present tomorrow 
morning to fulfill those three responsibilities. I shall describe 
some evidence, a part of which has never been published, a part 
of which has been published in non-Brethren sources, and a part 
of which comes from Brethren sources but seems necessary to 
make the other two parts meaningful. My interpretation of this 
evidence, briefly stated, is that the Brethren between 1785 and 
1860 were involved in a number of very important activities 
which contributed in significant ways to the future development 
of the church. And finally, I came to this conference with the 
intention of sharing for the first time some of my material and 
my ideas. Most of this material, and much more, will appear, 
hopefully in 1975, in a 500 page volume of source materials which 
I am now completing. 

In this paper, I have chosen to examine four of the important 
activities in which the Brethren were involved during these 
years: (1) the western movement; (2) the erection of meeting- 
houses; (3) the emphasis on evangelism; and (4) the mainten- 
ance of communication and the defense of Brethren beliefs. In 
the second paper tomorrow morning, I shall examine a fifth 
activity, the influence of the Brethren on the development of 
three other churches. 

A major activity of the Brethren between 1785 and 1860 
was emigrating to the western frontier. One of the first western 
states to receive Brethren was Kentucky. According to the John 
Clingingsmith account, which was written about 1885 by a 
Brethren minister whose father had been one of the earliest 
Brethren settlers in Missouri in the 1790's, "Old father Casper 


Roland was the first Dunker minister in Kentucky, date not 
given, and old father John Hendricks, of North Carolina, was 
the next." 1 His information indicated that they had arrived in 
Kentucky before 1800 and that conclusion is substantiated by 
other evidence taken from their respective land records in North 
Carolina. Also, evidence from the Kentucky records studied by 
David Eller indicates that Roland and Hendricks were arriving 
in Warren County, Kentucky around 1800. 2 

Although the earliest Brethren in Kentucky were evidently 
arriving from the Carolinas, the Brethren were also arriving 
at about the same time from Pennsylvania after floating down 
the Ohio River from Pittsburgh. The classic illustration of such 
activity among the Brethren is the story of George Wolfe, Sr., 
who left western Pennsylvania to emigrate to Logan County, 
Kentucky in the year 1800. J. H. Moore, who gathered much of 
the extant material on Wolfe, told this story delightfully in his 
book, Some Brethren Pathfinders.* 

Another Brethren family which was emigrating to Kentucky 
from Pennsylvania and which has not been so well known was 
the Bower family. Jacob Bower has told his story in considerable 
detail. He was born in Lancaster County in 1786. According to 
his story, "My parents belonged to the denomination of chris- 
tians called Tunkers." He then described the family worship 
which took place morning and evening in the German language. 
About 1805 when he was nineteen, the family moved to Kentucky. 
Evidently, the young man lived for a time in Muhlenberg Coun- 
ty, but his parents settled in Shelby County; other evidence 
indicates that there were Brethren congregations in both of these 
counties. In Kentucky and also during a brief stay in Indiana, 
he was exposed to Universalism. He commented: "I was rocked 
to sleep in the cradle of Universalism for a little more than five 
years," and also later, "A Universalist minister resided in the 
vicinity, and I made him several visits who strengthened me 
some in the faith; I was very fond of his company." Bower's 
comments at this point support the evidence that some of the 
Brethren in Kentucky had accepted Universalist ideas. 

Eventually, Jacob Bower cast off Universalism and was 
converted to a more orthodox Christianity. Let him describe his 
final decision in terms of church membership : "About this time 
I had a great desire to be united with some society of christians. 
And in those days there were no societies in that part of Ken- 
tucky but Baptists, Tunkars, and some Methodists, and for a 
time I felt quite unworthy to be united with any, for I verily 
thought with myself, that if I was a child of grace at all, I was 
less than the least of all saints, and unworthy the name of 


a christian. I first thought of uniting with the Tunkars. And if 
Mr. Hendrix (their preacher) had come into the vicinity, I would 
have been baptized by him (by trine immersion). I thought that 
it must be the right way, or Father would not have been bap- 
tized that way. But I could not arrive at any decision on the sub- 
ject. I therefore resolved to read the new Testament, and go the 
way it pointed out to me, and unite with that church which prac- 
tised, and walked nearest to the divine rule." To shorten the 
story somewhat, Bower eventually concluded from his reading 
of the New Testament that baptism involved a burial. Since 
"the dead are buried only once, so baptism is to be performed 
only once, and since the baptists baptized by single immersion 
backward, Bower and his wife were baptized in the Hazle Creek 
Baptist church in March, 1812. 4 Soon afterwards, he became a 
Baptist preacher and served for many years in that way. Bower's 
story illustrates the losses that the Brethren were suffering on 
the frontier, because there were not enough ministers to meet 
the needs of all of the scattered Brethren. Certainly, however, 
not all of the losses on the frontier were sustained by the Breth- 
ren, for they were also evangelistic, as a later section of this 
paper will demonstrate. 

Of course much more could be said about Kentucky, but the 
lives of the Rolands, the Hendrickses, the Wolfes, and the Bowers 
indicate that the Brethren were arriving in Kentucky, primarily 
from two directions, in the closing years of the 18th and the early 
years of the 19th centuries. 

Shortly after the Brethren began to settle in Kentucky, they 
also were moving into Ohio from Pennsylvania and from the 
South. Certainly one of the first Brethren ministers in Ohio 
and "indisputably the first Brethren minister west of the Great 
Miami River" was Jacob Miller, who for some thirty-five years 
before his arrival in Ohio in 1800 had been pioneering in Frank- 
lin County in southern Virginia. For the remaining fifteen years 
of his life, he helped to establish a Brethren settlement in the 
Miami River Valley, which has become one of the major centers 
of Brethren population in the years since. 5 

In the northeastern section of Ohio between Pittsburgh and 
Canton, Brethren settlers from Pennsylvania were organizing 
congregations in the first decade of the 19th century. One of the 
earliest ministers was John Gans, who settled in Stark County 
in 1804 and organized the Nimishillen congregation. Another 
early settlement some ten miles from the Pennsylvania line re- 
sulted in the organization of the Mill Creek congregation; one 
of the early leaders was George Hoke, who was called to the 
ministry in this congregation. 6 


The settlers in the Miami Valley of Ohio soon spilled across 
the state line into Indiana, and the result was the organization 
of the Four Mile congregation in 1809 by Jacob Miller in Union 
County, Indiana. 7 Although Brethren historians have tradition- 
ally considered this settlement the earliest Brethren settlement 
in Indiana, more recent studies have located a Brethren settle- 
ment in Clark County, Indiana, across the Ohio River from 
Louisville, Kentucky. By 1802, a Brethren minister from North 
Carolina named Jacob Stutzman had settled in this area. The 
evidence is sketchy, but David Eller has reported : "It is possible 
that Stutzman founded here the Olive Branch congregation, south 
of New Market in Clark County. This may have been the earliest 
Dunker congregation in Indiana." 8 

The evidence indicates that during the next quarter of a 
century the Brethren established some fifteen congregations in 
southern Indiana. One of the most important Brethren ministers 
during these years was Joseph Hostetler, who was born in a 
Brethren family in Shelby County, Kentucky on February 27th, 
1797. His uncle was the well-known Brethren minister, Adam 
Hostetler. In his early life, he was exposed to the preaching of 
the Baptists and the Methodists, as well as the Brethren. In con- 
trast to Jacob Bower's experience, however, Joseph Hostetler 
was baptized as a Brethren about 1816. That same year he was 
married and began to preach. In the fall of 1817 he moved to 
Washington County, Indiana, next-door to Clark County, and 
in 1819 Joseph Hostetler and John Ribble organized the Liberty 
congregation in Orange County with some thirty members. 
Hostetler began an itinerant ministry and the next year a con- 
gregation was organized in Lawrence County, directly north of 
Orange County. 9 How many more congregations he organized 
is not clear from the available evidence, but other sources indicate 
that by 1828 there were fifteen Brethren congregations in these 
counties in southern Indiana. 10 Today, there are no Brethren 
congregations in these counties. What happened to them will 
be described in the second paper on the relation of the Brethren 
to other denominations. 

Wherever possible the westward pioneers travelled by water, 
and the early Brethren were no exception. The earliest Brethren 
in Illinois did most of their travelling by water. By 1808, George 
Wolfe, Jr., his brother, Jacob, and Abram Hunsacker had ex- 
plored and had established a settlement in Union County, Illinois, 
some forty miles north of Cairo, in southern Illinois. They had 
travelled down the Ohio River, and then up the Cache River in 
order to reach their destination. At this time, none of the group 
had been baptized. A Methodist circuit-rider came through the 


area several years after they had arrived and organized them 
into a Methodist class. Their Brethren ideas were still very 
strong, however, and in 1812 eight of them were baptized by 
John Hendricks from Kentucky. 11 George Wolfe, Jr. became the 
leader of the group and served for many years as one of the out- 
standing Brethren ministers in Illinois. 

An unintentional tribute was paid to these Brethren in 
Union County by one of the outstanding Methodist circuit riders, 
Peter Cartwright. He noted in his autobiography that while he 
was serving in the Illinois legislature in the 1820's the repre- 
sentative from Union County introduced special legislation 
regarding the Brethren because they "thought, or professed to 
think, it was altogether wrong that they should pay taxes, work 
on roads, perform military duty, or serve on juries, etc., etc., etc." 
Cartwright was of course very unsympathetic and recommended, 
for example, that "if there were any unwilling to pay taxes to 
support government, they should be declared outlaws, and denied 
the protection of government." After Cartwright's speech, "the 
representative from Union, at this, flew into a mighty rage, and, 
instead of arguing the case began to eulogize the Dunkers and 
drew a contrast between them and the Methodists. He said the 
Dunkers were an honest, industrious, hard-working people; 
their preachers worked for their own support; there was no 
hypocritical begging among them; no carrying the hat round 
in the congregation for public collections, and hypocritical whin- 
ing among them for support, as was always to be seen among 
Methodist preachers. Thus he laid on thick and fast." As was 
always the case, Cartwright was quite capable of defending him- 
self and the Methodists, and in this case Cartwright dug up 
something from the other representative's past, which made him 
seem hypocritical. 12 In telling the story, however, Cartwright 
had provided an excellent insight into the beliefs and lives of 
these early Illinois Brethren. 

The settlement of the Brethren in Missouri provides the 
historian with some interesting problems. Although the territory 
was farther from the established centers of Brethren life along 
the Atlantic coast than the territory in Ohio, Indiana, and 
Illinois, the earliest Brethren arrived in Missouri before they 
arrived in the Ohio River Valley states, according to the avail- 
able evidence. John Clingingsmith quoted a statement by Daniel 
Hendricks, the youngest son of John Hendricks: "The first 
Dunkers that ever moved to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, were 
Peter Baker, John Miller, Joseph Niswanger, these came from 
North Carolina, and Daniel Clingingsmith," who came from 
Pennsylvania. "I think they moved there about the year 1790." 


From his own information, Clingingsmith concluded that "this 
may not be the precise time ; but it was not far from that time 
when these brethren moved there." 

John Hendricks in his far-flung travels found these Brethren 
in Missouri and ministered to their spiritual needs. He conducted 
the first Love Feast about 1810 in the home of Joseph Niswanger. 
Eventually, Hendricks decided to move to Missouri and sold his 
Kentucky property; before the move had been consummated, 
however, he became ill and died. His family completed the move, 
and in 1818 his son, James, was ordained as an elder by George 
Wolfe of Illinois. Clingingsmith concluded that in the 1820's, 
"there was at this place, a nice little church of humble followers 
of the meek and lowly Jesus — probably between thirty and fifty 
members, — and it continued in a prosperous condition as long 
as Eld. James Hendricks lived. . . . Now this church, under the 
care of Eld. James Hendricks, and the church across the river, 
in Illinois, under the care of Eld. Geo. Wolfe, about forty miles 
apart, were in peace and harmony, and the ministers frequently 
visited and assisted each other. And oh, how these pioneers of 
the West loved each other! Far more so than Brethren usually 
do now." 13 

One final area of Brethren settlement during these years is 
worth our attention in this paper because of the interesting 
evidence that has recently become available. About 1853 mem- 
bers of the Brubaker family settled in Story County, Iowa in 
an area where there were no other Brethren. They liked the area 
very much and they immediately began to write plaintive letters 
to their friends in the East urging them to emigrate to the West 
for a variety of reasons. Listen to their arguments : 

i suppose you would like to know how wee like our new 
home wee like it verry well as to the country wee could not 
got to a richer country in the world the land is as black as a 
hat and the soil is from 3 to 6 feet deep we have some off 
the pertiest potaters and turnips you ever saw all kinds off 
vegitation groes fine hear. . . i like this country far Better 
then i ever did tennessee for several resaons i have often 
wishd that our old Brother helten and solomon garver was out 
her their is no Breathren in our settlement But some must 
be the first and i hope some will soon come wee should be 
glad if some would come whie not Come hear whear [you] 
can get Land for one dollar and 25 cents per acre and i do 
Certenly know that you never saw as rich land in your life 
as this state is and thoes that have thier land and live in a slav 
state i have not seen a Coullerd person since i am in the State 
if anny off the Breathren in tends to move to the new Country 
now is their time and wee think this Country will have all 
the things first" 14 


"this is one of the most fertiel and Beutifullest Countries 
in the world our corn feilds and wheat feilds shoes what 
strong rich Land their is and wee have the Best garden that 
wee Ever had since wee keep house their is no Clods and 
poor land to Encounter with hear it can rain hard hear one 
day and the next wee can go right to ploughing again . . . 
wee are all highly pleased with the Country and our home 
one off our old neighbors from tennesee Came to see us he 
was hear weeke before Last you have seen him it was John 
Blair that ust to wagon to Linchburg he says he Cant Content 
him self in tennesee no Longer he is a going to seel as soon 
as he Can and move right hear he says he studied all the way 
out hear how wee was fixt and what kind off a home wee 
had but he found it all so much better than he had anny ideia 
that he wants to Come and settel hear in a free Country wee 
have not seen the first Negro since wee are in the state . . . 
now i must tell you something about the religion their is 
some new Lites and some Cammelites some Baptist some 
united breathren and some methodist they preach a greadeal 

it is Low hear and Low their and wee are quite By 

our selvs and wee have not that Blessing yet that wee Can 
hear our Dear Beloved breathren preach the gospel in its 
purity But wee hope that the time will come when some off 
our Dear Breathren will move hear and some preachers that 
will teach the peopel the right way wee want some to move 
hear to spread the glad tidings of salvation and teach the 
peopel the necessity of observing the Commandments: that 
our Lord and master taught his desipels to observe But wee 
have a sivel neighbourgood and Clever freindly peopel hear a 
greadeal more so than i thought wee would find and some 
wishes verry much to hear the Breathren preach and wee still 
want you to send Brother george Bear out hear and their is 
so manny preachers Living in franklin County that one or the 
oather ought to Come out hear and Build up a Church hear 
Dear Brother and sister — verry lonesom and lost on that 
account our prayers is that the Lord will make evry thing 
right yet 15 

These Brethren moving to the West were also putting down 
more permanent roots by building meetinghouses. For example, 
there is a report in 1843 from the Harshbarger family in Mont- 
gomery County, Indiana: "I will now inform you that we are 
about to put up a Dunkard Meeting House on my land in Site 
of the old cornstock Meeting House, myself, Daniel Graybill, 
& William Byrd are the Trustees to conduct the building the 
house it is let for $500.00 it is to be frame 40 by 50 ft. Old 
Daniel Himes boys David & Daniel that once lived on Jacob 
Stoners land are the undertakers of the house they are to com- 
plete it by the first of September next we talked of building 
one for Several years at last I drew up an article for that pur- 
pose and now we will Succeed I expect." 16 

The Brethren on the Western frontier were not the only 


ones building meetinghouses, however, for these years witnessed 
great activity in the more heavily settled Brethren areas in the 
East. Virginia provides an illustration, for in the years from 
1820 to 1860 at least twenty-seven meetinghouses were erected 
by the Brethren, according to a recent study. The building of 
these meetinghouses was a very important aspect of the life of 
the Brethren during these years, for they "indicated that the 
Brethren had come to stay; one could sell his farm and move, 
but it was not as simple to sell a meetinghouse and leave. Some- 
how, this action planted one's roots more deeply in the commun- 
ity. These meetinghouses also helped to bind the Brethren more 
closely together, by giving them a piece of common property 
to which each had made his contribution. Thus, there was a new 
aura of permanence." 17 

A third major activity in which the Brethren were engaged 
during these years was evangelism. Unfortunately, the Brethren 
were not keeping any kind of statistical records at this time, 
as Philip Boyle, a Maryland elder, noted in the 1840's : "It would 
be a difficult task to give a regular statistical account of these 
people, as they make it no part of their duty to keep an exact 
account of the number of communicants." 18 However, regardless 
of what the total membership may have been and various 
evidence indicates that it was increasing, scattered bits of 
evidence clearly indicate that the Brethren were baptizing people. 
From the Harshbargers in Indiana came the report in 1852 that 
in the last year, "there was 19 added to the church by Baptism 
and one by recantation." Also, two of the ministers in the con- 
gregation had made an appointment to preach at Potato Creek, 
some twenty-four miles to the northeast, where "their will be 2 
reformers baptised to our church." 19 These "reformers" were 
so-called because they were followers of the reform movement 
of Alexander Campbell. In addition, Samuel Harshbarger re- 
ported in 1861 that another of their local ministers, R. H. Miller, 
had an appointment in Putman County, eighteen miles from 
home, where he had already "baptised 7 in that neighborhood 
this last Summer and winter. The 2 last was baptised in Decem- 
ber. The ice was cut 4 inches thick to baptise a man and 
his wife. ... He baptised 3 methodist and one reformer there. 
. . . Now the Brethren in Putnam say there will be 5 applicants 
for baptism at their next meeting the 3rd Sunday in February, 
3 of them Methodist and one reformer. How this is I do not know 
myself, The harvest is truly great, but the labourers few." 20 

One of the most important results of the Brethren evan- 
gelism was that a number of men were brought into the church 
from non-Brethren backgrounds who would eventually become 


outstanding leaders in the church. The stories of four of these 
may be described briefly as case histories: Peter Nead, Henry 
Kurtz, James Quinter, and R. H. Miller. Let me briefly review 
Nead's background as a Lutheran and his experience as a 
Methodist lay preacher. His conversion to the Brethren was 
described in his extant diary which covered about a year from 
the summer of 1823 to the summer of 1824. Nead visited Daniel 
Arnold, a Brethren elder in Hampshire County, Virginia in 
July, 1823 and said : "I made known my business to him imme- 
diately, i told him i wanted to conform to the ordinances Christ 
church i therefore wanted to be baptised." Arnold was naturally 
suspicious of the intentions of this young Methodist preacher 
and suggested that they talk the following day with his brother, 
Samuel Arnold. The Arnolds concluded that "it was contrary 
to their order to baptise any person, until they had the council 
of the church," and that "there would be no meeting in the neigh- 
borhood for some time." Nead "could not conveniently Tarry," 
because he needed to continue his itinerant ministry, and so 
they separated. He could not forget about the Dunkers, how- 
ever. In October, he attended a Dunker Love Feast in the 
Botetourt County congregations near Roanoke and reported that 
"to my great satisfaction it was performed according to the 
Scriptures." He was invited to speak, but since the hour was 
very late and "the people appeared to be very uneasy," he de- 
clined. The following April he recorded in his diary: "On this 
day I have entered into a covenant with my God, Wherein I do 
promise that I will endeaver by His assistance to be more faithful 
to Him, and Take up my Dayly cross of denying myself all 
ungodliness and worldly lust, liveing a Sober and godly life, and 
o may the Lord of infinite mercy Print this covenant on my heart, 
that I may not forget my vows but keep them in remembrance 
performing them, to the Glory and honor of His name to whom 
they are made — " The following June, he was baptized "in the 
Potomac River by Elder Daniel Arnold," and thus began a life 
of service with the Dunkers. 21 

Like Peter Nead, Henry Kurtz came from a Lutheran back- 
ground. In fact, he had been a Lutheran pastor in Pittsburgh for 
several years before moving to northeastern Ohio about the end 
of the year, 1826. According to a recent article by Professor 
Durnbaugh, "It is not known precisely how Kurtz came in touch 
with the Brethren." He might have learned to know them during 
an earlier stay in eastern Pennsylvania. Now, in northeastern 
Ohio he came in contact with a Brethren elder named George 
Hoke, who convinced Kurtz to accept membership in the Brethren 
church and who baptized him on April 6, 1828. Durnbaugh con- 


eluded that in the Brethren Kurtz "found a movement to which 
he eould give his life, as the Dunkers' concern for disciplined 
church membership and conscious patterning of church prac- 
tices after the life of the early Christian church incorporated 
the ideals for which he had been contending." 22 

Unlike Nead and Kurtz, who had belonged to other churches 
before becoming Brethren, James Quinter evidently had no par- 
ticular church home before his conversion to Christ by the Breth- 
ren in his seventeenth year. At the time he was living near 
Phoenixville, which is in eastern Pennsylvania. The closest 
Brethren church was the Coventry congregation near Pottstown. 
However, the Brethren were very active in preaching in private 
homes and in schoolhouses covering a wide area. According to 
the account written by his daughter, Mary N. Quinter, "During 
a meeting held in the old Green Tree schoolhouse, he was con- 
victed and his mind aroused upon the subject of his salvation. 
It engaged his thought deeply for a time, and one day as he was 
working in the barn he suddenly stopped, exclaiming, 'I've got — 
I've got it,' and ran to the house. 'I've got it — peace with God !' 
He was baptized in the Coventry Church." 23 Thirty years later, 
he personally recalled : "How distinctly do I remember the meet- 
ing in the old school-house not far from your residence where 
the bow, though "drawn at a venture,' sent arrows of conviction 
into my poor heart, which produced pain and sorrow from which 
I could find no relief, until I found it in the healing virtues con- 
tained in the stream which flowed from the pierced side of the 
dying Saviour. That same night, after the meeting alluded to, 
we stopped, as I well remember, at the Pilgrim's Rest, the home- 
stead of Brother Umstad. Here we had further devotional ser- 
vices, for more besides myself felt very miserable on account of 
our sins, and the kind and zealous Christian friends knew it, 
and were willing to labor at a late hour of the night for our com- 
fort and salvation. How solemn was that night to me, when 
journeying homeward along the romantic Schuylkill, alone, 
'without Christ . . . having no hope and without God in the world.' 
Lonely and lost I indeed felt. . . . Here we found, I humbly trust, 
peace in believing, and experienced the power of God unto 
salvation." 24 

R. H. Miller's experience was like that of Quinter to the 
extent that neither had belonged to any other church before be- 
coming Brethren. Miller had been born in Shelby County, Ken- 
tucky in a strong Baptist family. When he was seven years old, 
his family moved to Montgomery County, Indiana, and event- 
ually in 1846 he married a girl from a strong Brethren family, 
Sarah Harshbarger, the daughter of Samuel Harshbarger, some 


of whose letters have been quoted in this paper. However, the 
twenty-one-year-old Miller was in no hurry about joining any 
church, and it was not until 1858 that Miller and his wife were 
baptized as Brethren. Evidently, no account of Miller's conver- 
sion experience has been preserved. However, there is a record 
of his election to the ministry on August 16, 1858 in the Raccoon 
Creek congregation in Montgomery County, Indiana, signed by 
Hiel Hamilton, Matthias Frantz, Daniel Himes, and Wesley 
Burkett. 25 Miller's father-in-law, Samuel Harshbarger, reported 
three years later that "Robert Miller goes at the work like an old 
brother that has been at the work for 40 years preaching nearly 
evry Sunday, and to larg congregations generly." 26 

These four men, Nead, Kurtz, Quinter, and Miller, became 
outstanding in their contributions to the Brethren in the nine- 
teenth century, because of their writing. Through their writing, 
they were helping to maintain communication among the Breth- 
ren and to defend the Brethren beliefs, which is the fourth major 
activity which the Brethren were engaged in the years from 
1785 to 1860. 

Peter Nead published the first book written in the English 
language by a Brethren minister in 1834 entitled Primitive 
Christianity. During the remainder of his life he wrote exten- 
sively, including several books and many articles; he was con- 
sidered one of the outstanding defenders of the Brethren faith 
in a day and age when there was much controversy among the 
various religious groups concerning their distinctive beliefs. 27 

Henry Kurtz is best known among the Brethren for his 
establishment of the Gospel Visitor in 1851, a monthly magazine 
published for and in the interests of the Brethren. Although 
there was a lot of skepticism about the desirability of publishing 
such a journal, Kurtz had been in the church long enough to be 
well known and trusted and to have learned what would be 
acceptable and what would not. In the first issue, he pointed out 
that other denominations were publishing papers, "holding forth 
and defending their peculiar tenets. Popular errors and the most 
ingenious counterfeits of truth are brought to our very doors, 
and our children are charmed with the same." Therefore, he con- 
cluded : "Should we not use every means in our power, to coun- 
teract the evil tendencies of our time, and to labor in every pos- 
sible way for the good of our fellowman, and for the glory of 
God and his truth as it is in Christ Jesus !" In addition to this 
argument, he stressed the need for better communication : "But 
we live too far apart. If one in his seeking after a more perfect 
knowledge becomes involved in difficulty, which he is unable to 
overcome, this paper opens unto him a channel, of stating his 


difficulty, and we have not the least doubt, but among the many 
readers there will be some one, who has past the same difficult 
place, and can give such advice, as will satisfy the other." 28 By 
1851 there was a need among the Brethren for a periodical of 
this type, and Kurtz' venture was successfully established. 

James Quinter and R. H. Miller were two of the outstanding 
defenders of the Brethren faith in public debates, although most 
of that type of activity was being carried on after 1860. Miller, 
in particular, was noted for his carefully organized and logical 
thought which he brought to the Brethren from some limited 
previous training in the field of law. An appreciative insight 
into Miller's approach was written in 1861, only three years after 
he became Brethren, by his father-in-law, Samuel Harshbarger : 
"a reformer preacher wants Robert to preach on baptism he 
offered his meetinghouse to the brethren for that occasion . . . 
Robert is agoing to prove the Trine Immersion rite by history, 
then by Grammer, and then by Scripture that the forward motion 
is nearer rite than the backward motion, they think he cant, 
he will deceave them bad when they hear him. he is an able 
debater in Scripture." 29 Miller's biographer, Otho Winger, 
described nine different public debates in which Miller partici- 
pated. 30 One of these with Daniel Sommer of the Disciples of 
Christ church was published as a book of 533 pages. Also, the 
basic ideas which he defended in these debates were set forth 
in a book entitled, The Doctrine of the Brethren Defended, which 
was circulated widely in a number of different editions. 

In addition to the formal ways of communicating by means 
of the printed word in such papers as the Gospel Visitor and in 
such books as The Doctrine of the Brethren Defended, the 
Brethren were communicating more informally by means of the 
written word through correspondence. Quite a number of such 
letters are extant, usually preserved in small numbers by appre- 
ciative descendants. In a few cases, larger collections stretching 
over a period of years have been preserved; one of the best 
unutilized collections is the Bonsack collection which includes 
hundreds of items written to a family living in the Roanoke, 
Virginia area. Their relatives and friends lived in Maryland, in 
Tennessee, in Indiana, and in Iowa. This collection of personal 
correspondence provides an excellent piece of evidence of the 
way in which the Brethren were maintaining contact with each 
other across the long distances of the western frontier. 

The Brethren were not only communicating by means of 
the written and printed word, they were also communicating in 
face-to-face contacts in a number of ways. At the national level, 
they were maintaing a practice first established in the eighteenth 


century of holding Yearly or Annual Meetings. Even though 
the minutes of all of the years following the first recorded Meefc- 
ing in 1778 are not extant, no one has questioned the idea that 
the Meetings were held annually. The evidence seems to indicate 
that an increasing number of Brethren were attending these 
Meetings, for one of the changes in procedure that had been 
adopted by 1860 was the transition from a pattern of pure 
democracy in which everyone present was involved to a pattern 
of representative democracy in which certain individuals were 
designated for certain responsibilities. 

To cite a specific case, the Annual Meeting of 1851 was held 
in the Middle River congregation in Virginia. It is reported that 
much "local enthusiasm was generated in the process of enter- 
taining the Meeting." Although these Brethren had built one 
of the earliest meetinghouses in Virginia in 1824 and had used 
locally-made brick, it was much too small for an Annual Meeting 
which convened in a large barn some forty by eighty feet. Accord- 
ing to the best estimates, "at least one thousand Brethren were 
present and probably several thousand other people attended 
some part of the Meeting." Parts of the Brethren service, espe- 
cially the Love Feast, attracted large numbers of curious people 
in those days. Finally, the personal and spiritual aspects of an 
Annual Meeting in the 1850's were demonstrated by the fact 
that eighteen people were converted by the preaching during 
the Meeting! 31 

For the Brethren at the local level, some of whom could 
not attend the Annual Meetings regularly, the big event of the 
year was the Love Feast, which was held annually in most con- 
gregations. In some cases, these Love Feasts were almost regional 
in nature, rather than local, because Brethren came long dis- 
tances to attend. Several reports from the Bonsack papers may 
be cited to demonstrate the importance of the meetings. From 
Indiana in 1839: "i will allso inform you that I wase at A 
sacrament down in putnam 10 mils her we went down Sunday 
morning and stad til monday it commenced on satterday an 
held til monday thare was fore preachers thar two myers that 
preached one miller and one garvar" 32 From Maryland in 1840 : 
"Mother and myself was a few weaks since at a lovefeast in 
Washington County the other side of Bonsborow there was a 
great many people there I dont think I seen so maney preachers 
together since I was at the yearly meeting. Old br Daniel Garver 
was there and br John Cline and br Miller from Virginia br John 
Price and br John Umstead from Pennsylvania, br emmert br 
Funk and the two br Longs and More br preachers I cannot 
mension. br Cline and br Price spake powerful, how we should 


keep close to the word of God and should it be that we should 
have to suffer Death for our faith in Jesus that we should not 
give way for we would then he removd from this land of trial, 
to the mansion of Everlasting rest." 33 From Maryland in 1851: 
"I attended the lovefeast I saw a number of our friends & a little 
of everybody we had 10 strange preachers 2 of them where 
from Va. although I believe I cant remember their names they 
had a number of meetings around us & I think they have done 
seme good in our neighbourhood." 34 From Indiana in 1853: "On 
the 25th of this month there will be a communion meeting in 
Owen County South of us 50 miles Brother John Metzger will 
be at our house on the 23rd to accompany the brethren down 
thare. the communion meeting commences on Dear Creek 
Carroll County the 11th October[,l the 13th on Bachellers run 
and on the 15th on wild cat with Brother John Metzgar, and on 
the 27th of Oct. at our meetinghouse on Comstock." 35 And fin- 
ally, from Indiana in 1859: "our communion meeting was on 
the 24th of October there was a large concourse of people hear 
Some thought not less than 3000 people hear we had meetings 
at 2 places in day time in the woods near the meeting Daniel 
Nahar, Jacob Flory & Jacob Wagoner Spoke to the people and 
in the Meeting house John Metsgar & John Shively Spoke, our 
Meeting house very much crowded at night we had excellent 
preaching hear thare was 20 additional} members from wild 
cat down with us. Some from Bachellors run church and Dear 
creak church above Delphi." 36 If the estimate of three thousand 
people present was anywhere close to accurate, then this Love 
Feast certainly supported the contention that these events were 
"regional" in nature. Certainly, aside from the large number 
attending, the Love Feasts played a vital role in holding the 
Brethren together during these years. 

Before leaving the subject of the Love Feasts, something 
more might be said about the presence of non-Brethren visitors 
at these meetings. One such visitor at a Shenandoah County, 
Virginia, Love Feast in 1857 wrote a fascinating report to his 
girl friend. (Keep in mind the fact that the Brethren ate mutton 
at their Love Feasts at that time.) "[I havel been confined at 
home very closely, ever since I last wrote you, leaving once . . . 
to gratify a curiosity which I had of seeing the Tunkers partake 
of the passover, vis., lamb's soup — foot washing — holy kissing. 
Indeed it presents a solemn and an imposing scene for any one 
to behold & contemplate. However, I felt rather the worse of my 
trip. For they do not partake of the passover until sometime after 
night. Knowing this, I did not start to the meeting, nine miles 
distant until late in the evening, & not having the precaution to 


sup at home I became so hungry by the time (12 o'clock) a gen- 
eral invitation was extended to the audience to partake of re- 
freshments, that I made myself as much a sheep as the meat was 
sheep for I indulged by farr too freely. Our supper over, I 
mounted my horse & gave him the rein, as the cloudy sky & dark- 
ness of the night, made it impossible for me to see it. Tho 
I reached home in safety, I felt rather sleepy & Sheepy all the 
next day. Hence concluded to stay up all night & eat too much 
lamb's soup & mutton wasn't what it is cracked up to be." 37 

In conclusion, I hope that it is obvious by now that I do not 
believe that these years were the "Dark Ages" for the Brethren, 
as some previous writers have interpreted these years. As I 
stated in my introduction, I believe that each generation of his- 
torians has the responsibility of examining the work of past 
generations of historians; Professor Durnbaugh has done an 
excellent job of describing those interpretations. I believe that 
the present generation's interpretation should be based on a 
respectful consideration and a sympathetic understanding of 
what the Brethren were doing between 1785 and 1860. Given 
those prerequisites, I am convinced that we can see the Brethren 
of those years in the light of their struggle to expand the message 
of Christianity as the Brethren understood it into new areas at 
the same time that they were preserving the church where it 
had existed in the colonial period and to maintain the unity of 
the church at the same time by a program of evangelism and 
of communication. 

During those years, the Brethren increased both in terms 
of the number of congregations and of the number of members, 
according to the scattered bits of evidence. The Brethren were 
expanding their witness to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus 
Christ, and in the perspective of their goals they were succeeding. 
For the historian of the twentieth century, their accomplish- 
ments of the nineteenth century seem impressive. 


1 John Clingingsmith, "Short Historical Sketch of the Far Western 
Brethren of the so-called Dunkard Church . . . ," typescript in the Historical 
Archives of the Church of the Brethren General Offices, Elgin, Illinois, 
page 3. 

2 David Barry Eller, "The Brethren Settlement Along Hinkson 
Creek: a study in Kentucky Church History," unpublished Master of Arts 
in Theology thesis, Bethany Theological Seminary, 1971, pages 8-9. 

3 J. H. Moore, Some Brethren Pathfinders (Elgin: Brethren Pub- 
lishing House, 1929), pages 15-35. 


4 Jacob Bower, "The Autobiography of Jacob Bower: A Frontier 
Baptist Preacher and Missionary," quoted in William Warren Sweet, Religion 
on the American Frontier, The Baptists: 1783-1830 (New York: Cooper 
Square Publishers, Inc., 1964), pages 185-199. 

5 Jesse O. Garst, editor, History of the Church of the Brethren 
of the Southern District of Ohio (Dayton: The Otterbein Press, 1920), 
page 74. 

6 T. S. Moherman, A History of the Church of the Brethren — 
Northeastern Ohio (Elgin: Brethren Publishing House, 1914), pages 18-19, 

7 Otho Winger, History of the Church of the Brethren in Indiana 
(Elgin: Brethren Publishing House, 1917), pages 59-60. 

8 David Barry Eller, "Jacob Stutzman, Frontier Brethren Minister," 
paper presented to the Brethren Historian's Fellowship at the Annual Con- 
ference of 1972. 

9 Madison Evans, Biographical Sketches of the Pioneer Preachers 
of Indiana (Philadelphia: J. Challen & Sons, 1862), pages 57-63. 

10 Ibid., page 32. 

11 Moore, Some Brethren Pathfinders, pages 64-72. 

12 Charles L. Wallis, editor, Autobiography of Peter Cartwright 
(Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1956), pages 179-180. 

13 Clingingsmith, "Far Western Brethren," pages 6-8. 

14 K. O. Brubaker to "Dear Brother and Sister," Story County, 
Iowa, December 4, 1853, manuscript letter, Bonsack Papers, Manuscript 
Division, Perkins Library, Duke University, Durham, N.C. Used by 

15 Joseph and Catherine Brubaker to John and Susannah Bonsack, 
Story County, Iowa, August 20, 1854, manuscript letter, Bonsack Papers. 

16 Samuel, Jr., and Elizabeth Harshbarger to John and Susan Bon- 
sack, Sornstock Grove, Montgomery County, Indiana, August 27, 1843, 
manuscript letter, Bonsack Papers. 

17 Roger E. Sappington, The Brethren in Virginia (Harrisonburg, 
Virginia: Printed for the Committee for Brethren History in Virginia by 
the Park View Press, 1973), page 57. 

18 Philip Boyle, "History of the German Baptists, or Brethren," in 
I. D. Rupp, Religious Denominations in the United States (Philadelphia: 
J. Y. Humphreys, 1844), page 95. 

19 Samuel and Elizabeth Harshbarger to John and Susan Bonsack, 
Cornstock, Montgomery County, Indiana, November 16, 1852, manuscript 
letter Bonsack Papers. 

20 Samuel and Elizabeth Harshbarger to David and Mary Plaine, 
Cornstock, Montgomery County, Indiana, January 21, 1861, manuscript 
letter, Bonsack Papers. 

21 Donald F. Durnbaugh, "Vindicator of Primitive Christianity: 
The Life and Diary of Peter Nead," Brethren Life and Thought, XIV 
(Autumn, 1969), 201-222. 

22 Donald F. Durnbaugh, "Henry Kurtz: Man of the Book," Ohio 
History, 76 (Summer, 1967), 122. 


23 Mary N. Quinter, Life and Sermons of Elder James Quinter 
(Mt. Morris, Illinois: Brethren's Publishing Co., 1891), pages 15-17. 

24 Ibid., pages 20-21. 

25 Otho Winger, The Life of Elder R. H. Miller (Elgin: Brethren 
Publishing House, 1910), pages 16-20. 

26 Samuel and Elizabeth Harshbarger to David and Mary Plaine, 
Cornstock, Montgomery County, Indiana, January 21, 1861, manuscript 
letter, Bonsack Papers. 

27 Fred W. Benedict, "The Life and Work of Elder Peter Nead," 
Brethren Life and Thought, XIX, (Winter, 1974). 

28 Henry Kurtz, "Address to the Readers," Gospel Visitor, I (April, 
1851) 1. 

29 Samuel and Elizabeth Harshbarger to David and Mary Plaine, 
Cornstock, Montgomery County, Indiana, January 21, 1861, manuscript 
letter, Bonsack Papers. 

30 Winger, R. H. Miller, pages 28-38. 

31 Sappington, Brethren in Virginia, page 47. 

32 Mary Noffsinger to Mary Bonsack, Putnam County, Indiana, 
September 8, 1839, manuscript letter, Bonsack Papers. 

33 Sophia Lightner to John and Susannah Bonsack, Pipe Creek, 
Maryland, July 12, 1840, manuscript letter, Bonsack Papers. 

34 M. C. Plaine to D. H. and M. Plaine, October 6, 1851, manu- 
script letter, Bonsack Papers. 

35 Samuel and Elizabeth Harshbarger to John and Susan Bonsack, 
Cornstock, Montgomery County, Indiana, September 15, 1853, manuscript 
letter, Bonsack Papers. 

36 Ibid., November 6, 1858, manuscript letter, Bonsack Papers. 

37 A. G. Strayer to Bettie Ballow, New Market, Va., June 9, 1857, 
manuscript letter, John Winn and Philip James Papers, Manuscript Division, 
Perkins Library, Duke University, Durham, N.C. Used by permission. 

A.T.B. thanks the following for permission to print material covered 
by copyrights or from special collections: Abingdon Press, Nashville, TN, 
Autobiography of Peter Cartwright, Charles L. Wallis, ed. ; Brethren Life 
and Thought, Oak Brook, IL, "Vindicator of Primitive Christianity: The 
Life and Diary of Peter Nead," by Donald F. Durnbaugh; The Ohio His- 
torical Society, Columbus, OH, "Henry Kurtz: Man of the Book," by Donald 
F. Durnbaugh; The Manuscript Department, Perkins Library of Duke Uni- 
versity, manuscript letters. 


Roots by the River 

Marcus Miller 

A STUDY of history, whether religious or secular, can be 
divided into three phases. The first is the gathering and 
classification of source material. The second is the interpretation 
of events as they occurred or as they seem to us to have occurred. 
The third is the application to everyday life or to the course of 
present day events, the lessons learned from our source material 
and our interpretation of past events. 

The accumulation of historical data is at best incomplete 
because the events as they occurred were not recorded in their 
entirety and those which were recorded were recorded by a select 
and biased recorder. A further weakness is our interpretation 
of the more-or-less inadequate source material. Each of us here 
today views history by definition, retrospectively. Each of us 
has his own "retrospectoscope." Each of us is viewing the past 
through a retrospectoscope peculiar to itself — with its own 
parallax and refractive error. I, therefore, make no apology for 
my interpretation of historical events as I see them. Astigmatism, 
that is the structural imperfection of the eye which causes us to 
perceive an indistinct image, is almost universal and there is 
probably not one of us here less astigmatic than the rest. If there 
is anything to be gained, therefore, from a "sharing — working" 
seminar such as this it will be to the extent that we as individ- 
uals are able to complement for one another the imperfect image 
of Church history which each of us now holds. 

For my own part I have turned my own retrospectoscope 
on the Miami Valley of Ohio since that is where my greatest 
interest lies at the present time. While this Valley is quite small 
geographically, the importance that it assumes historically is by 
no means insignificant. The Church in the Valley before 1800 
was non-existent. The seeds were sown by pioneer Brethren from 
Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina and the tree which 
resulted in the intervening one hundred-seventy-five years has 
suffered a few storms. Let us investigate the roots nurtured by 
this river from 1800 to 1860. 


Until August 3, 1795 — the date of the Treaty of Greene 
Ville — the Miami Valley of Ohio was not open to settlement by 
the white man. The Ohio country was wild and forbidding terri- 
tory inhabited by Indians and overgrown by dense forests. It 
was, however, very alluring to many people including the 
Brethren. Land in this territory after it was open to settlement 
was inexpensive. There was an extensive system of rivers and 
tributaries which facilitated water transportation. The soil was 
fertile and excellent for agriculture requiring only the clearing 
of trees. To the Brethren it offered a haven ideal for their wants 
following the Revolutionary War. 

In Europe the Brethren suffered greatly for their beliefs 
risking life and property for the Faith that was launched in 
Schwarzenau in 1708. It was for this reason that they very early 
sought refuge in the colonies where for several years they were 
free from the persecution they knew in Europe. The member- 
ship spread into the wilderness of eastern Pennsylvania and en- 
joyed peace for nearly fifty years. However, in 1776 the War 
for Independence threatened this peace-loving people. They 
sought only tranquility and freedom from intervention in wor- 
ship and seemed to be willing to receive this either under the 
protection of the King of England or under the colonies. In order 
to assure internal loyalty some of the colonies, notably Penn- 
sylvania, required an oath of allegiance of all its citizens. The 
Brethren were not only opposed to all oaths but were anxious 
to stand aloof from the rebellion and therefore were at odds 
with the colonial government. We are familiar with the abuses 
suffered by Elder Christopher Sauer at the hands of the colonial 
armies 1 and others were also threatened for their refusal to sign 
the oath of allegiance. The migration of Elder John Garber and 
Elder Jacob Miller into the Valleys of Virginia in 1776-1777 
may have been prompted by the greater religious freedom offered 

When the war came to an end in 1783 the Brethren had 
again suffered a taste of that for which their fathers and grand- 
fathers had braved the Atlantic to escape. With the memory of 
persecution in Europe and in the Colonies fresh in their minds 
they turned their hopes toward the wilderness territory beyond 
the Appalachians. The Northwest Territory and the Ohio Country 
was a vast forested uninhabited wilderness. It promised no great 
wealth. There was no particular inclination among the Brethren 
to proselytize the Indians. There was not yet a population to 
justify any missionary movement. It seems that the chief motive 
for settlement in the Ohio Country was the relative protection 
which its isolation offered and the ample inexpensive land suit- 
able for agriculture. 


Looking back to the opening of the wilderness we find that 
several exploratory expeditions were sent into the Miami Valley 
of Ohio before and after the Revolutionary War to open the wild- 
erness valley to settlement. Celeron in 1749, Henry Bird in 1780 
and George Rogers Clark in 1780 all led unsuccessful expeditions 
against the Indians in the Valley. General Clark met some success 
in 1782 but General Harmer in 1790 and General Arthur St. 
Clair in 1791 again met defeat. It was not until President 
Washington in 1792 appointed General Anthony Wayne to rid 
the Northwest Territory of the Indian menace that the Miami 
Valley of Ohio was made safe for habitation by the white man. 
In 1794 General Wayne made a two-pronged thrust from Fort 
Washington (Cincinnati) up the east branch of the Great Miami 
RiVer and its west branch called the Stillwater. His men portaged 
to the Auglaize and St. Marys Rivers and down the Maumee to 
fight a decisive battle against the Indians at Fallen Timbers on 
the Maumee above Toledo. The following year on August 3, 1795 
the Treaty of Greene Ville was signed and the Northwest Terri- 
tory was opened to settlement. 

In the process of so many military expeditions there were 
several wilderness roads developed through the Miami Valley 
and these soon became arteries by which settlers from the East 
landing at Cincinnati could reach the headwaters and tributaries 
of the Great Miami River. And so homes and villages soon sprang 
up throughout the valley. Internal travel in the Valley was facil- 
itated both by these crude roads and the ample rivers and 

The Brethren were among the first to settle in the Valley. 
Already before 1795 there were Brethren in the Northwest Terri- 
tory for in that year the Stonelick Church was organized in Cler- 
mont County on the Ohio River. By 1800 Elder Jacob Miller of 
Virginia settled at the present site of Dayton, Ohio when this 
village consisted of nine houses. By 1818 Brethren had branched 
out along the upper tributaries of the Miami and soon thereafter 
there were congregations at Lower Miami, Upper Miami, Lower 
Stillwater, Stillwater (Covington) , Upper Stillwater, Bear Creek, 
Wolf Creek, Salem, Twin Creek, and thus the Valley was settled. 

In this day of travel it is impossible for us to visualize the 
isolation of settlers in the wilderness of the early 1800's. Until 
the Cumberland Road was completed into the Valley early in the 
1840's there was virtually no practical way of entering this area 
of the wilderness except by flatboat to Cincinnati. The trails 
through the forest were not improved until after 1839. So while 
travel was free throughout the Valley by flatboat on the tribu- 
taries or by horseback on the unimproved roads, communication 


with the outside world was limited. Even the Miami and Erie 
Canal was not completed from Cincinnati to Piqua until 1836 
and the railroad was not extended into the Upper Miami Valley 
until after 1850. 

An understanding of conditions in the Miami Valley of Ohio 
is essential to a study of the Brethren as a whole as we meet to 
explore the seventy-five years under consideration — that is 1785 
to 1860. It is immeasurably important to an understanding of 
Brethren history during the twenty years which followed — that 
is 1860 to 1881. 1 believe that later day historians have been sadly 
mistaken in the interpretation of the events of that later twenty 
years because they failed to understand the importance of an 
isolated subculture of Brethrenism which we shall hereafter 
speak of as an entity of itself and later further define in greater 
detail. Let this subculture from here on be called the Miami 
Valley Brethren. There were other similar examples of isolation, 
notably the Far Western Brethren of Kentucky and Illinois. 

A clone is a biological term representing a strain of cells 
descending in culture from a single cell. The members of a clone 
are identical in character with one another. To this definition 
let me add that a clone may, after a period of isolation in a sys- 
tem, differ from other cells growing independently from the 
clone but derived from the original strain. 

If we borrow this biological term and apply it to our study 
of Brethren history it will be represented thus: In about 1800 
a small group of Brethren removed from the mainstream of 
Church life east of the Appalachians and transplanted to an 
isolated wilderness valley and continued to grow with little in- 
fluence from the Brethren elsewhere. They brought with them 
whatever doctrinal teachings and individual interpretations they 
chanced to possess and with relatively free communication among 
themselves they grew "in culture" and became, more or less, an 
independent community of themselves. The "Miami Valley 
Brethren" became a community, the members of which were 
"identical" or nearly so in character and a certain autonomy 
developed in the Valley which both set it apart as a subculture 
in the Brethren Community taken as a whole and made it a nidus 
about which developed the pearl (excuse the metaphor) of Old 

Homeostasis is another biological term which is defined as 
a tendency to uniformity or stability in the normal body states 
(internal environment) of an organism. Again, let us borrow 
this term and apply it to conditions in the Miami Valley of Ohio 
as they developed during the period from 1800 to 1860. In order 
to make this application we will have to study the system of 


church government in the Early Brethren community and see 
how it was adapted to the needs and necessities of the Miami 
Valley of Ohio. But before we go to that, by 1850 the Miami 
Valley Brethren had developed as a clone, so to speak, with a 
remarkable homeostatic balance and a highly sophisticated form 
of internal self-government. This was based on primitive Breth- 
renism, which they had brought with them from the East, and 
apart from but subordinated to the Brotherhood as a whole, 
namely the Annual Meeting. By 1860 this homeostasis had been 
significantly affected by influences from outside the Valley and 
as we shall see, the Brethrenism of the Miami Valley was such 
that a counter-reaction was inevitable. 

The Annual Meeting as it was conducted from its earliest 
recorded observance and from the later writings of such his- 
torians as Elder Henry Kurtz was very simply a meeting of the 
Elders of various areas throughout the Brotherhood. 2 It was 
like an ordinary council meeting. Business and questions were 
presented to the Elders and questions asked and the Elders, meet- 
ing under the influence of the Holy Spirit, formed answers which 
they gave verbally and in important cases answered by letter to 
the congregation submitting the question or to the Brotherhood 
as a whole. As the attendance grew at this "Great Meeting" we 
are told by Elder Henry Kurtz that a few of the oldest Elders 
would withdraw to privacy and consider the queries so that busi- 
ness need not be aired before the whole Church and before 
strangers. This was the practice of the Brethren until 1830 or 

In the 1813 records, Article 3, we read, "It has been also 
again requested of, and counselled by the old brethren, that the 
great (annual) meeting should be continued in the order as it 
has been heretofore declared and laid down by the old 
brethren. . . ." 3 There was no end to the damage done when the 
Gorman "Die Eltern" was translated to the English "the old 
brethren". "Die Eltern" were considered in highest respect as 
the Fathers in the Faith. The old brethren came in later decades 
to be held in derision. At any rate when the Brethren moved their 
possessions down the Ohio River by flatboat to Cincinnati and 
up the Great Miami to its headwaters they brought with them a 
high regard for "Die Eltern", the Elders, the old brethren. Along 
with this respect they brought a system of church government 
in which "Die Eltern" met and after prayer and exhortation 
and under the influence of the Holy Ghost considered questions 
of importance to the Church. This was the goverment they 
brought to the Miami Valley and this was the government among 
the Miami Valley Brethren as long as it remained an autonomous 


entity functioning more or less independently of outside influ- 
ences. The "adjoining Elders" were consulted when the local 
congregation could not settle a matter itself. There was freedom 
of travel among the Elders of the Valley from the Lower Miami 
District to the Upper Stillwater District and from Donnels Creek 
to Twin Creek. Even as late as 1880 an Elders meeting was con- 
sidered second in authority only to the Annual Meeting, 4 even 
by such as Elder R. H. Miller. So, although "the old brethren" 
came to be known as a term of derision, it was not so in the Miami 
Valley from 1800 to 1860. 

We would submit, then, that the process of church govern- 
ment practiced in the Miami Valley of Ohio up to 1860 was a 
more or less pure form of that which prevailed in the earliest 
Brethren community. The early Annual Meetings appeared to 
be a consultation of Elders. Questions of doctrinal importance 
could be addressed to this meeting from individuals or local con- 
gregations. It also seems that local congregations could request 
or invite a Committee of Elders to come to the home Church to 
assist it in settling troublesome questions. We refer to the work 
of Brumbaugh and his record of such a committee at the German- 
town Congregation in 1791. 5 Doubtless this was not at all an 
isolated practice nor was the Germantown Committee the first. 
That this was acceptable practice in the early Church is attested 
to by the fact that the Miami Valley Brethren brought the prac- 
tice with them to the wilderness. In 1811 the Miami Valley 
Brethren requested a committee of Elders from Virginia to settle 
a problem which had arisen in the Valley and the result seemed 
satisfactory to all. 6 It was not until 1849 that we have a record 
of the Annual Meeting sending a committee 7 apparently without 

The Miami Valley Brethren continued this form of church 
government (i.e. the consultation among Elders) throughout 
the period we have under consideration. They considered it to 
be the most primitive form of Brethren church government and 
based it on Acts 15:2: "When therefore Paul and Barnabas had 
no small dissension and disputation with them (certain men 
which came down from Judaea), they determined that Paul and 
Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem 
unto the Apostles and Elders about this question". 

It seems that the spirit of early Brethrenism learned in 
Pennsylvania and Virginia continued to thrive in the Miami 
Valley until 1850. Soon thereafter, however, this spirit came 
under severe trial as we shall subsequently see. 

Among the Early Brethren unity throughout the Brother- 


hood was considered essential. Any influence which interfered 
with harmony among the believers was to be abhorred. When 
something appeared to be amiss, the Church was questioned as 
to the right way. The Church met in general Brotherhood Council 
yearly to seek an agreement on scriptural interpretation or, in 
the absence of specific scripture, it sought a course consistent 
with the tenor of the Scripture. At any rate early records repeat- 
edly stated, "The Church in union agrees . . ." ; "It has been con- 
cluded in union . . ." ; "It has been unanimously concluded . . ." ; 
"Inasmuch we deem it our duty, obligation, and office to see to 
it that union, tranquility, and peace be maintained, that all should 
be united and of one mind . . ." ; "It was in union concluded . . ." ; 
"It has unanimously been deemed good . . .". When someone 
disagreed with the unanimous consent of the Church as it inter- 
preted the scripture and could not convince the Church by 
evidence from the Holy Scripture 8 , he was excommunicated 
either by the ban or by being set out of communion and the fel- 
lowship of the kiss. This was the Faith of the Early Brethren 
that was brought to the wilderness of the Miami Valley in 1800 
and the Miami Valley Brethren were able to maintain this Faith 
throughout the Valley as late as 1850. 

When, subsequent to 1850, communication among the various 
Brethren subcultures improved, and as travel over the improved 
roads and turnpikes became more free, and especially when 
Brethren publications began to enter the homes, it was discov- 
ered that the unity and restraint enjoyed in this Valley was not 
shared throughout the Brotherhood, and that while unity pre- 
vailed in the Valley it did not prevail in the Brotherhood. That 
any major break in Church unity should exist, came, we suspect, 
as somewhat of a shock to the Miami Valley Brethren. For if 
unity did not exist in the Brotherhood could it be maintained 
in the Valley ? To be sure, it was to become more and more diffi- 
cult to maintain unity in the Valley and as a deterioration of 
unity developed among the congregations of the Valley a massive 
effort to maintain the unity established by the Early Brethren 
was inevitable. 

Having, then, outlined the form of church government as 
well as the unyielding emphasis on unity and unanimity religious- 
ly maintained by the Miami Valley Brethren, let us look to some 
specific circumstances which began to cloud the tranquility which 
prevailed in the Valley in 1850. We shall try to limit cur remarks 
to the decade following 1850. It is unnecessary to go further for 
we are all familiar with the events of the following two decades 
and furthermore, virtually all the issues had presented them- 
selves by the year 1860. 


Let us look first to one John Cadwallader of Newton Town- 
ship, Miami County, Ohio. It is by no means our intention to 
malign this Elder. On the contrary, we feel that his contributions 
have been overlooked by Brethren historians in their study of 
nineteenth century Brethrenism. If nothing else, he may be con- 
sidered the father of the Progressive Movement, for while he 
did not see the day, his Congregational Brethren Church of 
Pleasant Hill was already a viable organization six years old 
when the Progressive Brethren separated from the body in 1882. 9 

Elder John Cadwallader was born in Virginia in 1799, moved 
to Highland and Adams County, Ohio in later years, and preached 
for the first time in the Miami Valley early in the 1850's. 10 We 
wish we knew more of his background and of his doctrinal 
development. At any rate he exerted great influence on his hear- 
ers at Sugar Grove and they influenced him to move to the Valley 
in 1854. His teachings were at odds with those of the other Elders 
of the Valley. Rather than holding to unity and the intereongre- 
gational accord enjoyed in the Valley at the time, Elder 
Cadwallader taught congregational autonomy. There were other 
points leading to discord, but let us pursue this a little further. 
When an individual, official or congregation was out of line it 
became the "duty, obligation, and office" of the joining Elders 
to see to it that "union, tranquility and peace be maintained, 
that all should be united and of one mind". 11 This was the prac- 
tice of the early Church and of the housekeepers in the Miami 
Valley. It fell the duty, therefore, of Elder Peter Nead of Lower 
Stillwater, Elder David Bowman Jr. of Bear Creek, Elder John 
Darst of Lost Creek and Elder John Cable of Upper Stillwater 
to maintain peace in this section of the Valley. Elder Cadwallader 
would not hear the counsel of his colaborers in the office and 
was placed out of fellowship. He had gained the following of 
approximately one hundred sympathizers who were also dis- 
fellowshipped with him. A committee from the Annual Meeting 12 
attempted to restore peace to the Valley and Elder Cadwallader 
and his followers were restored to fellowship and the Covington 
Congregation was divided to form the Newton Church with 
Elder Cadwallader in charge. The subsequent events are outside 
the temporal scope of this seminar and therefore we will not 
pursue them; however, the seeds of dissension had been sown, 
the restraining discipline of the Valley had been severely tested 
for the first time, and the first clouds of schism had appeared 
upon the horizon. Under the form of church government preva- 
lent in the Miami Valley at the time it would seem that there 
was no alternative course for Elder Peter Nead and his colaborers 
to take. 


Let us investigate some more specific doctrinal points. A 
Sunday School was organized in John Cadwallader's Church in 
1856, the first west of the Allegheny mountains. 13 Sunday 
Schools were previously barred from the Church 14 and, indeed, 
were not sanctioned by the Annual Meeting until 1857 — "if con- 
ducted in Gospel order" — but no one could find scripture out- 
lining the gospel order for Sunday Schools. 15 This form of relig- 
ious education was totally foreign to the Brethren in the Miami 
Valley. The first Brethren Sunday School was said to have been 
held in the Germantown Church starting in 1735. However, both 
Martin Brumbaugh 16 and The History of the Brethren in East- 
ern Pennsylvania 17 point out that those so-called Sunday Schools 
were the pernicious work of the Ephrata community and pro- 
moted Conrad BeissePs doctrine of celibacy and Stephen Koch's 
experiences of ecstatic visions and apparitions. Those so-called 
Sunday Schools caused no end of damage at Germantown and 
it is no wonder then that the immigrants to the Miami Valley 
were unyielding in their stand against anything resembling 
Beissel's "Sunday School". The fact that this first Sunday School 
was in Elder Cadwallader's Church offered nothing in favor of 
the institution. And finally religious teaching in the wilderness 
had heretofore been obtained in the crude log cabin before the 
open fire where Father or Mother read from the worn Bible and 
the family sang from Sauer's Kleine Davidische Psalterspiel. 
The first crude log meeting house in the Upper Valley was not 
built until 1840 and was itself considered a step away from the 
simplicity of the home or the wilderness clearing with heaven 
for a canopy. How could a Sunday School replace the lessons 
learned at a saintly mother's knee? 

Several points of doctrinal dispute relating to the ordinances 
arose in the later years of our seventy-five year period. Not the 
least of these was the dispute over the double and single mode of 
feetwashing. The Miami Valley Brethren apparently brought 
from Virginia and Pennsylvania the double mode and they prac- 
ticed it without question throughout the first half of the century. 
This was characteristic of this particular clone. Somewhere back 
there, some other clone in some other Valley practiced the single 
mode. Isaac Studebaker of the Lost Creek Church is said to have 
claimed for himself the credit of introducing the single mode 
into the Valley. 18 We suspect that this was even after 1860. 
Nevertheless, the same pressures were brought to bear in the 
Valley in an attempt to maintain the peace and tranquility which 
had prevailed before this variation was introduced. 

Let us look now to education. Before 1826 there was no free 
public school in the State of Ohio. Before about 1855 there was 


no high, school in Miami County. Miami University founded in 
1809 had little to offer which would be practical in the wilderness 
along the Miami and Stillwater Rivers. In a university at that 
time the education was classical — Arts, Law and Latin. In the 
wilderness men lived by the axe, the flintlock and the mattock. 
It was no wonder at all, then, that the question was asked the 
Annual Meeting in 1831, "Whether it was considered advisable 
for a member to have his son educated in a college? Considered 
not advisable, inasmuch as experience has taught that such very 
seldom will come back afterward to humble ways of the Lord". 19 

After 1850 there appeared more and more discussion about 
Brethren's schools. Henry Kurtz and James Quinter especially 
began writing along these lines. Virtually all the Brethren of 
note were opposed to education in the public schools. Henry Kurtz 
and James Quinter were among the strongest opponents of edu- 
cation in public schools or those sponsored by other religious 
faiths. 20 Their solution was Brethren sponsored schools in order 
to keep Brethren children under Brethren influence. In some 
sections there was opposition to the schools proposed by Kurtz 
and Quinter and many have supposed that the opposition was 
on the basis of education per se. We believe the interpretation 
is in error. We would submit, rather that the opposition was to 
Brethren's schools per se and not to education per se. 2 ' The 
Miami Valley Brethren were among the leading opponents of 
Brethren schools. Why? Let us disgress to a study of the Brethren 
ministry as it was instituted by the early Brethren and main- 
tained by the Miami Valley Brethren. 

The ministerial body of the early Brethren was unsalaried 
and in most cases plural. This prevailed in Europe, in German- 
town and in the Miami Valley of Ohio. All precautions were taken 
to discourage any minister from becoming elevated by pride. An 
Elder was expected to rule his house only with the counsel or 
sanction of his peers. This is what maintained the uniformity of 
practice in the Miami Valley and up to a point in time, in the 
Brotherhood. The Brethren were expected to preach under the 
influence of the Holy Spirit and to please God. He who pays the 
piper calls the tune and a salaried minister was considered likely 
to preach what would please his congregation, since it was the 
congregation which paid the salary. Now let us return to the 
Brethren's schools which began to be proposed just prior to 1860. 

It was the feeling of many of the Brethren that the proposed 
Brethren academies would cultivate or create the desire for an 
educated ministry which would preach, not under the influence 
of the Spirit, but, for hire. They then envisaged not only a 
salaried ministry but also a solitary ministry (as opposed to the 


plural). They believed these to be contrary to Holy Scripture 
arid careful study of the wording- of the subsequent petitions and 
resolutions will confirm that this was the reason for the adamant 
stand of the Miami Valley Brethren and not education per se 
as has been supposed. 22 

There were a few other details that set the Miami Valley 
Brethren apart from their Brethren on the eastern seaboard 
and led to a certain uncompromising autonomy. Let us take for 
example Article 8 of the Annual Meeting Minutes of 1827 : "How 
is it considered to lay carpets in (our) houses? It is considered, 
that it belongs to the grandeur (highness) of this world, and 
that it will not become a follower of Jesus to garnish his house 
in this manner, but rather that he should adorn his house as may 
be consistent with lowliness." 23 This meeting was held, of course, 
in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, but the decision could not 
be more consistent with life in the Miami Valley. Life in the 
wilderness was often meager, sometimes dangerous and always 
austere. Remember that this carpet was made, of necessity, on 
the eastern coast or perhaps even in Europe. After reaching the 
market it was carried by conestoga wagon across the Alleghenies 
to Pittsburg and thence by flatboat to Cincinnati. From here it 
was packed by horse or by wagon to a merchant in Dayton or 
perhaps it was purchased directly from Cincinnati by a pioneer 
from the Upper Valley. But consider also that this fine carpet 
must be laid on the bare dirt floor in 1827 where rain may seep 
and snow might sift in through the unchinked cracks. Wall to 
wall carpet? They didn't even have wall to wall floor! 

And so the austerity of the wilderness life bred an asceticism 
among the Miami Valley Brethren, pervasive and stedfast, which 
was to fix and to foreordain the course which they were to take 
even after some of the discomforts of the wilderness had been 
overcome. In 1860, the end of our seventy-five year period of 
study, we find a subculture of Brethren life still believing that 
a higher spiritual state can be obtained by rigorous self-discipline 
and self-denial and still attempting to maintain the unity of the 
Spirit in the bonds of peace. And, in a word, that seems to be a 
good definition of Schwarzenau Brethrenism. 

Let us turn now to a little armchair psychosocial analysis 
of our German ancestory. We will look first to the leaders in 
Brethrenism in the time surrounding 1700 and then to their 
spiritual offspring, the pioneer settlers of the Northwest Terri- 
tory and the Miami Valley of Ohio. 

The Teutonic peoples were not so culturally refined nor 
socially sophisticated, we are told, as the Greeks, for instance. 
Some would even class them as but a step or two above barbar- 


ism. From the Teutonics arose the Germanic peoples and their 
contributions to the world as we know it today have not been 
insignificant. While the Mediterranean cultures are noted for 
their contributions in art, government, literature and religion, 
the Germanic peoples have contributed more notably to science 
and technology. Their meticulous attention to scientific method, 
their careful documentation of fact, and their inclination to de- 
mand scientific proof of theory have been characteristic. They 
are individualists and nationalists. They are aften inflexible and 
dogmatic. When taken up by a cause they are often zealous or 
even fanatical. The term "stubborn German" is not a mere 

The Mediterraneans were men of ideas and philosophies. 
They expressed themselves in the arts and architecture and most 
of the great religions are Mediterranean or Oriental. On the 
other hand, even the German philosophers were scientific in their 

It follows, therefore, that when Christianity came to Europe 
and was introduced among the German peoples it became some- 
what flavored by their particular cultural viewpoints. It was, 
perhaps, no accident that Protestantism was a German contri- 
bution. Martin Luther was a German thinker and his theology 
was inconsistent with that of Rome. Moreover, German religious 
turmoil was already well on its way to a Reformation when 
Luther nailed his 95 theses to the cathedral door in 1517. A short 
while later another German Catholic priest, the Very Reverend 
Monsignor Menno Simons led another group in another direction. 
Finally, in 1708 we have recorded the culmination of yet another 
religious movement when eight souls stepped forward to declare 
that all established religions of the day were in error and that 
by individual study and through personal revelation they had 
concluded that the Word of God should be observed in a particu- 
lar way. It appears that the Schwarzenau Brethren were dog- 
matic, inflexible, zealous and unyielding. They were willing to 
risk life and property for their devotion to the teachings of Jesus 
Christ and of the Apostolic Church as they understood them. 
And more than this, they were willing to serve time for God at 
hard labor on the slave galley or in the dungeons of Dusseldorf . 
To avoid persecution they were willing to brave great hardships 
in the crossing of the Atlantic to settle in a wild and sometimes 
unfriendly land, struggling the while to maintain their Germanic 
identity and their Christian integrity. 

Now let us return to the Miami Valley Brethren. All that 
we have said still held true in 1800 when Jacob Miller, Michael 
Etter, David Deeter, John Cable, David Bowman, Christian 


Frantz and all the rest came to the Valley. After all, the Miami 
Valley was only one hundred years from Schwarzenau. Their 
iron wills ruled also their interpretation of Bible principles and 
their adamant characters were very nearly impervious to change. 
After all, if these principles — that is 1) the government of a 
consulting eldership, 2) the fellowship of unity, 3) non-conform- 
ity to the world as they understood the world to consist, and 
4) the attainment of a higher spiritual state through self-denial 
and self-discipline — had been laid down by Christ and the 
Apostles and perpetuated by the early and the latter Church, 
the Germanic mentality could see no need for change. 

Now let's extend our armchair psychosocial analysis to that 
subject of change : Remember were not talking now about issues 
which later divided the Church. We are talking about the qual- 
ities which characterized a people both past and present day. It is 
a psychological social fact that some people adapt better to change 
than others. The rigid and inflexible must maintain stability at 
airy cost. The flexible and pliable can frequently adapt to change 
or, if you will, succumb to change even to such an extent as to 
be pathologic. Many an institution has been destroyed because 
of its own instability and through no particular organized effort 
from without. When an institution no longer zealously maintains 
its integrity, decadence results. Whether it be in the scientific 
community, in the medical profession, in the Church or in any 
other institution, something new is not always better, nor is 
change always progress. I am not speaking now about the issues 
which later divided the German Baptist Brethren Church. I'm 
speaking about the psychologic and social characteristics and 
thinking of the German pioneers in the Miami Valley of Ohio 
and elsewhere and of their predecessors in Germany. 

Now, what can we draw from this study? First, we have 
pointed briefly to the fact that a retrospective analysis of history 
is unavoidably, doubly biased — both in the recording of the events 
and in our analysis of the source material. We have then reviewed 
the history of a Brethren subculture which we ourselves have 
studied and the history of which we have recently summarized 
in a book Roots by the River. Then we have entered into some 
psychological and social analysis of our German forebears and 
related it to their inflexibility and resistance to change in the 
absence of scriptural foundation. And, finally, we leave to the 
hearer that third part of an historical study : that is, the appli- 
cation to everyday life or to the course of present day events, 
the lessons learned from our source material and our interpre- 
tation of past events. 



1 Donald F. Durnbaugh, The Brethren in Colonial America (Elgin, 
IL: The Brethren Press, 1967), pp. 400-405. 

2 Henry Kurtz, "The Annual Meeting," The Brethren's Encyclo- 
pedia (Published by the author, 1867), pp. 9-16. 

3 H. D. Davy and J. Quinter, Minutes of the Annual Meetings of 
the Brethren (Covington, OH: Little Printing Company, Reprint, 1956), 
Art. 3., p. 42. 

4 "Report of the Proceedings of the Brethren's Annual Meeting 
of 1880" (Huntingdon, PA: Quinter and Brumbaugh Bros., 1880) pp. 


5 Martin Grove Brumbaugh, A History of the Brethren (Mt. 
Morris, IL: Brethren Publishing House, 1899), pp. 504-506. 

6 Jesse O. Garst, History of the Church of the Brethren in the 
Southern District of Ohio (Dayton, OH: The Otterbein Press, 1921), pp. 

7 Davy and Quinter, Minutes of the Annual Meetings of the 
Brethren Art. 15., p. 135. 

8 Davy and Quinter, Minutes 1805, Art. 2, p. 37. 

9 History of Miami County, Ohio (Chicago, IL: W. H. Beers and 
Co., 1880), p. 370. 

i° Jesse O. Garst, pp. 205-207. 

11 Davy and Quinter, Art. 1., p. 14. 

1 2 Davy and Quinter, Art. 35., p. 20. 

1 3 Jesse O. Garst, p. 207. 

14 Davy and Quinter, Art. 10., p. 83. 

15 Davy and Quinter, Art. 11., p. 204. 

16 Martin Grvoe Brumbaugh, p. 179. 

1 7 History of the Church of the Brethren of the Eastern District of 
Pennsylvania (Lancaster, PA: The New Era Printing Co.), p. 69. 

1 8 Jesse O. Garst, p. 576. 

19 Davy and Quinter, Art. L, p. 69. 

20 James Quinter, "Letter to The Visitor," March 1856, in Mary 
N. Quinter, Life and Sermons of Elder James Quinter (Mt. Morris, IL: 
Brethren's Publishing Company, 1891), pp. 36-38. 

21 "A Petition from the Elders of the Miami Valley to the District 
Meeting of Southern Ohio, for the Annual Meeting of 1880." Davy and 
Quinter, Appendix. 

22 Ibid. 

23 Davy and Quinter, Art. 8., p. 66. 


The Developing Thought and Theology of 
the Brethren— 1785-1860 

Dale W. Brown 

THESE years, the so-called wilderness period, have been 
frequently characterized in Brethren historiography as a 
time of sterile anti-intellectualism and isolation resulting from 
the withdrawal of the Brethren from the cultural milieu and 
literacy activity of the colonial period. Current reassessments of 
these decades are revealing that the evangelistic fervor and great 
missionary expansion of the pioneer Brethren was accompanied 
by a surprising amount of theological writing. It is true that 
some of the chief apologists such as Peter Nead, Henry Kurtz, 
and William Thurman were converts from other denominational 
traditions. Their contributions, however, can be attributed to 
the dynamic expansion of the movement as logically as to any 
intellectual famine in the fraternity. We need more research 
in interpreting the documents of the period and in analyzing the 
theology of the hymnody and minutes before becoming too defin- 
ite in any final assessment. After reading Peter Bowman, John 
Kline, Peter Nead, James Quinter, William Thurman, and Henry 
Kurtz, I offer some tentative judgments. The following topics 
have emerged, arbitrarily in line with my interests, from my 
reading in the literature of this period. 

One of the recurring motifs was the theme of unity. This 
emphasis on unity was expressed in the minutes of the Big Meet- 
ing (one of their favorite names for the annual meeting) in 
1815. "For the Lord Jesus and the apostles teach us that we 
should be one, of one mind, speak the same thing, and that there 
should be no division among us : and to this end we also labor 
to be obedient to the gospel of Jesus by the grace of God." 1 Henry 
Kurtz in his introduction to The Brethren's Encyclopedia defines 
the purpose of the annual gathering as follows: "In fact, we 
may say, every Yearly Meeting was a solemn act of renewing 
our covenant, into which each one of us had entered. . . ." 2 


The desire for unity manifested itself in a remarkable 
maintenance of unity during- the years which experienced a 
language change and widespread geographical expansion across 
an expanding continent. Floyd Mallott always felt that it was 
a miracle that the transformation from a German speaking to 
an English speaking people occurred without producing a major 
schism. It would be intriguing to know at which Yearly Meeting 
English became the primary vehicle of communication. A clue 
as to the time of transition can be garnered from a careful ex- 
amination of the Yearly Meeting minutes of 1841 and 1845. In 
1841 the query asked whether it was "proper for teachers to 
speak both German and English in meetings, when there are 
only a few English members, the majority of the church being 
German." The answer defended the bilingual practice by stating: 
"Considered, that it is right and our duty to preach the gospel 
to every nation as far as we are able. . . ." But the conference 
added : "yet so that in such a case not too much time ought to 
be taken up in English." By 1845 a similar query did not assume 
the German majority. The first part of the answer was nearly 
identical with a slight change in emphasis : "to preach the gos- 
pel to all nations, and in every tongue as far as we are able." 3 
The second phrase, which warns against taking up too much time 
in English, was omitted altogether. It is not surprising that 
the most outstanding itinerant preachers and evangelists such 
as John Kline were bilingual. 

Most of the schisms of these decades were small and local. 
The Church of God, the Congregational Brethren, the Leedy 
Brethren, the Bowman Brethren, and the Honites represented 
minor fractures in the unity of the brotherhood. The most major 
threat to unity revolved around the differences with the Far 
Western Brethren. Some of the latter had questioned the reality 
of such a being as the devil. Many such as the pioneer Illinois 
preacher, George Wolfe, espoused universal restoration, which 
was often interpreted as universal salvation by others. Concern- 
ing the ordinances, Wolfe and the Far Western Brethren pre- 
ferred the single mode of feet-washing to the double mode and 
opposed the break in time between the eating of the supper and 
the breaking of bread. Most of these differences were successfully 
resolved by the Annual Meetings of 1856 and 1859. For example 
the Far Western Brethren were allowed to retain the single mode 
while they agreed to conform to the practice of the Brethren in 
general when in communion with them. The division was healed 
with the acknowledgment of full fellowship. 

Although the schisms were minor, there are many indica- 
tions that the loss by exodus during this period may have been 


greater than Brethren historians have realized. Recent studies 
by John Davenport and David Eller 4 have revealed large defec- 
tions (the context of the Honite schism mentioned above) of 
Brethren to the expanding Campbellite movement (the Disciples 
of Christ) and other groups in Kentucky, southern Ohio, 
Indiana, and Illinois. Such might be attributed both to the 
rigidity of the Yearly Meeting as well as a certain inevitable 
acculturation accompanying the frontier experience. 

The theology of unity from this period can be deducted from 
the ecclesiological judgments about the status of the minutes of 
the Yearly Meetings. When compiling topical arrangements of 
the minutes for his encyclopedia, Henry Kurtz in his introductory 
address theologizes about the meaning of the minutes, which he 
called "The United Counsels and Conclusions of the Brethren" 
(his book subtitle). He opposes one view in the church by em- 
phasizing that they are not binding laws or rules legislated for 
the governing of others. We find the perfect law only in Christ 
and his teachings. Neither will he accept the antithesis of the 
above view by regarding the decisions as mere vain traditions 
of men. The traditions of our Christian Elders tend to help our 
obedience to the law of Christ and protect us from the vain tra- 
ditions of men. If the minutes constitute neither laws, nor vain 
traditions, what are they? Kurtz appropriates the analogies of 
the court process with the jury and parties making treaties of 
peace to point to the necessity of periodically coming to collective 
judgments in order to be reconciled and to renew the covenant, 
which each one has made at the time of baptism. 5 

The refusal to treat the decisions as absolutely binding at 
the same time they are to be regarded with great respect creates 
the ambiguity which seems to have always been present in 
Brethren polity. One minute from the big meeting of 1842 goes 
a long way in substantiating this ambiguity. The query raised 
the issue : "Whether the church has the right to make resolutions 
framed by men, binding on members." The answer seems right 
but not helpful in any ultimate resolution of the tension. It stated : 
"If the resolutions are founded upon and in accordance with the 
gospel to which we are all bound, they are binding ; but if they 
are not according and even contrary to the gospel, we can not be 
bound to observe them, and no church can make them binding." 6 
It is my thesis that there had developed by the end of our period 
of study a greater polarity in terms of attitudes toward the 
decisions than had existed at the beginning. By the middle of 
the century the polarity as articulated by Kurtz was pronounced 
enough to nourish the seeds which were to erupt in the major 
schisms of the last half of the nineteenth century. 



Floyd Mallott often decribed Brethren thought in the nine- 
teenth century as being evangelical and legalistic in contradis- 
tinction to the more mystical and pietistic accents of the eigh- 
teenth century and the institutional and rationalistic leanings 
of the twentieth. Though such theological periodization is always 
fraught with problems, I do find a validation of this kind of 
shift from some of the writings of the colonial period to the early 
decades of the nineteenth century. The writings of Michael 
Frantz, coming shortly before the revolutionary war, have a 
more mystical flavor. For example, Frantz writes : "That is the 
true living wellspring of faith, which is driven by the Holy Spirit 
and rising flows upward into the eternal life ; this, then is a well- 
spring of love from above, which returns to where the wellspring 
of love originates." 7 The emphases on the Spirit, freedom, and 
love are reiterated in another passage: "The whole gospel is 
based on freedom, through the movement of the Spirit, for those 
whom the Spirit moves are God's children. Thus the Spirit of 
God moves to love, and love cannot help but move to loving. . . ." 8 
Such language, pregnant with pietistic and mystical overtones, 
is not to be found as much as we move through the early decades 
of the nineteenth century. 

In adopting the label, legalistic, I am not implying many of 
the usual connotations. Legalism is not always the opposite of 
love. To be legalistic does not necessarily mean that one is with- 
out love. Neither am I using legalism as a synonym for works 
righteousness. The evangelists of this period stressed that one 
might be judged by their works but that salvation and works 
were wholly the fruit of the grace and work of God. I am using 
the word, legalism, here to highlight the tendency during the 
nineteenth century to nail things down more securely, to be less 
flexible, to be more detailed and definite, to move to greater 
order. My examples relating to worship, baptism, the love feast, 
ministry, and the garb will hopefully help elucidate what I have 
in mind. 


Morgan Edwards, an American Baptist historian, gave this 
description of the flexibility and freedom of early Brethren 
worship in 1770 : 

Their church government and discipline are the same with 
those of the English Baptists; except that every brother is 
allowed to stand up in the congregation to speak in a way of 
exhortation and expounding; and when by these means they 
find a man eminent for knowledge and aptness to teach, they 
choose him to be a minister, and ordain him with imposition 


of hands, attended with fasting and prayer and giving the right 
hand of fellowship. 9 

We find a similar type of evidence in an old manuscript from 
Michael Frantz, dated December 9, 1747, which Kurtz printed 
in his encyclopedia. The document dealt with the question of 
whether he would permit the breaking of bread in the love feast 
to take place without the presence of elders. His answer was 
that first he would attempt to have one who had been put on 
trial (meaning one who was in the ministry but not yet an elder) 
by the church to serve in place of an elder. However, if this were 
not possible, he would recommend that the church select two or 
more brethren, and then choose one of these by lot to serve in 
the fear of the Lord. 10 

Such earlier evidence that brethren who were not ordained 
were still taking the lead at public meetings, is not to be found 
as the fraternity moved to greater order in its life. By 1858, we 
find a minute which demonstrates greater rigidity: "As it re- 
gards prayer, it is considered that private members may pray 
in public, if liberty be given by elder brethren ; but exhortation, 
teaching and prophesying seem to be duties and privileges be- 
longing to the officers of the church." 11 The movement was 
toward greater order, structure, and authority in matters of 


Another bit of evidence can be gained through an examina- 
tion of two minutes dealing with standards of membership. Those 
of us who have thought in terms of the twentieth century as 
being the time of breaking out of the legalism from the past 
may be surprised at the flexibility of a decision in 1821. It was 
asked "Whether members might be received into the church, 
who have been but once immersed?" In response: "It was con- 
sidered, that a threefold immersion is the true baptism; but if 
such persons would be content with their baptism, and yet ac- 
knowledge the Brethren's order as right, we would leave it over 
to them, and receive them with the laying on of hands and 
prayer." 12 By 1848, however, there was a different response to 
a similar inquiry: "Ought we to receive any person into the 
church without baptism, having been baptized by any other order 
of people? . . . unanimous conclusion, that it would be better to 
admit no person into the church, without first being baptized 
by the Brethren." 13 

There also seemed to take place a major shift in terms of 
the debate about baptism. Whereas the earlier leaders such as 
Alexander Mack had articulated an apology for believer's bap- 
tism in rejecting the practice of infant baptism of mainline 


Protestants, later apologetics focused on the form and mode of 
baptism against the Mennonites, the Baptists, and Disciples. 
John Kline could argue for a kneeling position from Jesus' bap- 
tism of suffering in the garden of Gethsemane. Peter Bowman 
attempted to demonstrate the forward action from the motion 
of the children of Israel as they walked through the Red Sea 
(based on the allusion found in 1 Cor. 10:2 about being baptized 
into Moses in the cloud and the sea). William Thurman offered 
twenty six and one-half proofs for the triune action. 14 Due to 
the context of the American frontier, the apology generally 
shifted from a case for believer's baptism in the larger frame- 
work of the Anabaptist doctrine of the church and the relation- 
ship of the church to society to the more technical questions of 
form, mode, and order. 

Love Feast 

For an example of early flexibility, I refer to the desire 
to remain open to new revelation by Alexander Mack, Jr. in a 
letter on feetwashing appended to the writings of his father in 
1774. The letter reveals that the early Brethren washed feet after 
the meal for a time and later washed feet after the meal and 
the breaking of bread. After a new Testament translation and 
instruction from a brother who knew Greek, they did it always 
before the meal. The theology of openness to new revelation can 
be sensed from some of the following quotes from Mack's little 
treatise : 

At the same time I want to say this, that if a brother or some 
other person can in love and humility demonstrate by the word 
of the Lord something other than what is now done, we are 
willing to accept it, and not only on this point of the feetwash- 
ing but also in other things. Indeed, we do not intend to rest 
upon old practices but the word of the Lord alone is to be 
our rule and guideline. 15 

Oh, how Satan could mock us if we were to quarrel with one 
another about the time when the feet should we washed, and 
love would be destroyed — indeed, even the feetwashing and 
the breaking of bread would be completely abolished and 
peace destroyed. 16 

... if I came to a brotherhood which wished to have break- 
ing of bread and the elders of that brotherhood did not ac- 
knowledge other than that the feetwashing should be after the 
supper, I would participate quite simply in love and peace 
and would nevertheless explain it to them according to the 
Scriptures. 17 

Mack's priority on love and peace over precise correctness of 

the observance as the way Christians will be known was not 

always remembered in the struggles of the nineteenth century. 

The movement toward greater rigidity can be seen in the 


progression of answers given to queries about the participation 
of non-members in eating the Lord's supper. In 1832 it was 
decided that non-members could be permitted at the Lord's 
supper if there was room and the churches so desired. In 1841 
there was no objection to admitting friends to the Lord's supper 
if they did not commune in partaking of the bread and the cup. 
By 1849, the answer was more negative: "Considered, to be a 
divine and sacred ordinance, as all the Lord's ordinances are, 
and should be eaten by the members only." 18 


The genesis of the special offices of ministry is an area 
which needs more research in Brethren historiography. Alex- 
ander Mack, Sr., has often been called the first minister as on 
the cornerstone of the library at Bridgewater College. It is 
difficult to know when the more definite offices emerged in the 
life of the brotherhood. It is evident from the perusal of the 
minutes and literature of this period that the Brethren were 
struggling with questions of order. Should they or should they 
not lay hands on deacons? What were the specific terms, qual- 
ifications, and duties of the ministers? How should the ministry 
be defined? It is interesting to trace the shift of nomenclature 
toward a greater formalization of terms, a shift from the func- 
tional to the institutional. For example through the early years 
of the nineteenth century it was more likely to be housekeepers 
or those who are keeping house (meeting-house being the desig- 
nation for the building instead of church). Later, one will find 
a greater use of overseers, titles like administrators, bishops, 
elders, or those in the third degree. Earlier for the second degree 
of ministry, the functional language, to set forward a brother, 
was used because the preaching ministers were literally set up 
in front behind the table. The deacons were often called visiting 
brethren as one of their primary responsibilities was the annual 
visit to the homes of the congregation. Later, the name deacon 
was used with greater frequency. It is apparent from even the 
language used that the shift from the functional to the institu- 
tional was one toward greater formalization, structure, and 


In the theology of the simple life the emphasis changed 
from one of non-conformity to the high fashions of the world 
to one which called for conformity to the order and garb of the 
Brethren. My impression is that the century began with an 
emphasis on plainness and simplicity in the context of a great 
deal of latitude as to specific attire. It was primarily as the 


Brethren began to experience divisions and the threat of accul- 
turation that the order of dress was defined more rigidly. One 
interesting example supports this conclusion. Peter Nead, Luth- 
eran turned Methodist turned Brethren, continued to wear his 
tall white hat, in the style of the clergymen of his day, after he 
was called to the ministry. Though he was permitted to preach 
in spite of his hat, Brother Benjamin Bowman did take him 
aside one day, admonished him, and gave him a black broad- 
brim. Such tolerance would probably not have been as prevalent 
by the time Nead would have been doing the counseling nearer 
the middle of the century. 

Many of these legalistic trends, no doubt, resulted from the 
growth and expansion of this period. A more definite order and 
structure was necessary to keep the brotherhood together. 
Greater definition was required in order to prevent and heal 
divisions. Specific instructions and guidance were often requested 
by struggling frontier cadres. Rather than calling such legal- 
istic manifestations good or bad, it might be more accurate to 
regard many of the counsels as inevitable and necessary. They 
were good inasmuch as they abbetted the spiritual and physical 
growth and unity of the brotherhood. They became bad when 
rules replaced faith and form took priority over love as an 
attempt to preserve the faith of the fathers. 

Adaptation and Winds of Doctrine 
At the same time the fraternity was defining its life and 
polity with greater precision, there were many indications of 
what might seem to be an opposite phenomenon, namely indica- 
tions of adaptation to and inroads from the larger cultural 
milieu. Encounters with the larger society can simultaneously 
take both the form of defining more rigidly the church's position 
over against society and adapting in many ways at the same 
time. If we as historians do not approve of such adaptation, we 
call it acculturation and see it as compromise, a selling out. If 
we approve of the adaptation, we place it in the framework of 
mission, of properly applying the gospel to the spirit of the times. 
Some have attempted to use the term adjustment as a more 
neutral concept, by which it can be affirmed that some adapta- 
tions constitute mission such as the spawning of new periodicals 
while other changes represent compromise such as the giving 
up of pacifism. 

Whatever our evaluation, it is interesting to look at some 
obvious examples from the years between the revolutionary and 
civil wars. As biblicists the Brethren in 1827 were still advising 
the use of mutton for the love feast menu. In 1853 the minutes 
contained complaints about the growing use of beef. The advice 


which was given that year adhered to the traditional preference 
for lamb, but rationalized that since we are a people free from 
ceremonial law, we should bear with one another. Though they 
had faithfully cooked lamb through the years, their settlement 
in an increasingly beef producing country was destined to 
change this adiaphorous practice completely by the end of the 
century to the extent that most Brethren today identify beef 
and beef broth with Kosher Brethrenism. 

In struggling to preserve the doctrine of the simple life in 
a century becoming more affluent with the advent of the indus- 
trial revolution, the Brethren struggled frequently with matters 
such as carpets, carriages, hoops, jewelry, portraits, and tomb- 
stones. Their working through ethical decisions as to what would 
be appropriate in the life style of the members often appears 
to be legalistic in the sense of preoccupation with trivia and 
requirements of conformity. On the other hand, their consensus 
making process can be viewed as the ultimate in contextualism. 
They did not assume that once the decision was made it was 
binding for all times. Instead, on some of the issues, such as 
whether Brethren could own carpets, the matter came up again 
and again. This reveals both the fact that there was not universal 
adherence to the counsels of the big meeting as well as an 
openness on the part of the majority to struggle anew with the 
validity of the previous action. 

It is well to keep in mind that such issues were logical ones 
in the context of their assumed theological affirmation that the 
gospel deals with all of life. One of the best explanations for 
their adaptation in the direction of less strictness is given by 
Henry Kurtz in his own editorial comments following the section 
on carpets: 

While such improvements were yet new, and only found 
in homes of the great and rich in the world, it was proper for 
brethren to advise as above (1827 and 1828 decisions); but 
after such improvements had become a common thing, and 
it was a convenience generally known, there was no further 
objection to their introduction. Thus it was almost in all 
cases. ! 9 

The 1828 counsel had stated that it should not be that Brethren 
have carpets in their houses as such would lead to elevation or 
pride. Kurtz's point is that when only the wealthy had carpets, 
this would be more true than when the industrial revolution 
made carpets more available to all. At the beginning of the 
nineteenth century one could not own carpets and still identify 
with the poor and lowly. Fifty years later it was judged to be 


Other changes can be noted. In 1783 a brother was not 
allowed to take any interest whatsoever. From 1836 on teachings 
on usuary advised only against taking more than lawful interest. 
In 1858 we discover some of the first complaints that pulpits 
and stands were finding their way into some of the meeting- 
houses. It should be stated that there were many matters on 
which there was little change, such as their attitude toward 
freemasonry, gambling, lotteries, and nonresistance. On the 
temperance issue it is interesting to observe that the Brethren 
could combine the spirit of rigidity and adaptation at the same 
time. In becoming more strict in their own habits, they were 
leaving behind the patterns of their German heritage and 
adapting to the growing temperance movement in revivalistic 


Though much of the literary effort of this period results 
from attempts of Brethren to defend themselves in response to 
tracts and positions of other traditions, it is certain that the 
Brethren were being strongly influenced through these years 
by current winds of doctrine. Their writings and preaching re- 
veal their dialogue and struggles with what can be labeled as 
evangelical, later pietist, revivalist, and methodist manifesta- 
tions. They both appropriated and opposed aspects of the the- 
ology and methodology of the popular religious movement of 
the frontier. We find in Brethren preaching and writing a shift 
f rom the general theme of salvation as reconciliation with God, 
the community, and others to a stress by itinerant preachers 
on saving souls from eternal damnation to everlasting life. In 
1815 the Yearly Meeting was forced to deal with the charges 
that the Brethren were cold and dead. The elders and meetings 
frequently had to grapple with the divisions which were being 
created by those who were demanding entire new birth before 
baptism. A frequent theological debate revolved around the 
question of whether one knows faith before repentance or re- 
pentance before faith. In 1820 it was considered that Brother 
J. K. went too far with harsh expressions against Brother A. M., 
his expressions being: "that he is to have said, from the teach- 
ings of Bro. M. there was apparent a spirit of Methodist and 
River brethren and an Antichrist!" 20 We find a ruling against 
mourning benches in 1842 and against extending an invitation 
and singing another hymn in 1855. By 1858 the Brethren 
approved in principle revival meetings, Kurtz printed Spurgeon's 
sermon, "Sinner, Turn or Burn" in the Gospel Visitor, and the 
following year saw a committee appointed to devise a plan to 


spread the gospel by collecting money from districts to support 
traveling evangelists. 

The Brethren were too afraid of coercion and intolerance 
to easily accept some of the more high manipulative aspects of 
revivalism. Nevertheless, they retained enough of the legacy of 
pietism to be open to a spirit of greater zeal and fervor in pro- 
claiming the faith. They were too communal in life style and 
corporate in theology to accept easily the individualism of fron- 
tier revivalism. Nevertheless both their Anabaptist and Pietist 
heritage had bequeathed to them an emphasis on the importance 
of personal conversion. Their greatest points of opposition prob- 
ably came at the points where the theology of religious experi- 
ence was removed from the doctrine of the church. The Spirit 
did not come to the individual in conversion apart from the 
Spirit coming to us in terms of our relationship with the com- 
munity of faith. Nevertheless, by the time of the Civil War, the 
evangelical spirit and revivalist practices were becoming more 
common among the Brethren. But opposition remained and the 
tensions were present which were destined to lead to the schism 
of the church in two directions in the eighteen eighties. 


It is also evident that Brethren were being influenced by 
currents of premillennialism which became especially strong 
in the decades of the forties and fifties. Peter Nead's writings 
during this period reflect this emphasis. His chapter in Theo- 
logical Writings entitled, "The Second Advent of Our Lord Jesus 
Christ, and of those Events for Which We Shall Be Revealed," 
contain most of the common premillennial themes. 21 Nead 
reasoned that most of the signs of the end had and were appear- 
ing. Things are growing worse, and we must be in a state of 
readiness. When He comes, there will be first a collection of 
saints, the first resurrection, the rapture or ascending of the 
living and raised saints to meet their Lord in the air, a great 
battle, and the binding of Satan in chains. The conversion of 
the Jews, who had been gathered in Palestine, will constitute 
the second important event. Then will come a thousand year 
reign of Jesus Christ with his saints, during which time univer- 
sal peace and happiness shall pervade the entire earth. After this 
millennium dispensation, there will follow the releasing of Satan 
to tempt men, the Day of Judgment, in which there will be the 
casting of Satan and the unjust into hell following the second 
resurrection of the just and unjust. Then there will occur the 
formation of the new heaven and a new earth, in which the 
felicity will be more glorious than during the millennial state. 


Nead applied his dispensational scheme to the love feast. 
The law, he reasoned, is compared to breakfast, the gospel to 
dinner, and the millennium to the supper. The Lord's supper then, 
becomes the anticipatory supper looking forward to the great 
eschatological banquet, the marriage feast of the lamb. William 
Thurman wrote more extensively in the same vain, going so far 
as to be unacceptable to the Brethren in setting the exact date 
for the advent of Jesus. It was shortly following our period, on 
September 27, 1868, that he gathered with his schismatic fol- 
lowers to behold the second coming. 

As early as 1817 we find Brethren such as Peter Bowman 
speaking of the age of darkness, supportive of a more pessimistic 
reading of the movement of history, a mood which usually 
accompanies expectations and hopes for a speedy end of the 
world as we know it. However, Brethren, with their strong 
imitatio Christi theology and ethical emphases, were not about 
to accept any dispensationalist view which put off an obedience 
to the sermon on the mount ethic until the millennium. In near 
unanimity they would probably have shared James Quinter's in- 
terpretation of the text which points to the kingdom within. This 
text, according to Quinter, points to the beginning, not the con- 
summation of the kingdom. Not only should we pray this prayer, 
thy Kingdom come, "but with cheerfulness and diligence, should 
we cooperate with God in works of holiness, love, and mercy, to 
accomplish his purposes in delivering the world from the misery 
of sin, and the power of satan, and in restoring it to a state of 
obedience to its rightful Sovereign." 22 His emphasis on begin- 
ning to live in the kingdom now is in the context of his hope 
for the future kingdom. He describes how the whole wide world 
will become one Eden. ". . . fields of snow and arid sands shall 
blossom all with roses ... a palace befitting its king. Then the 
saints shall inherit the earth. Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come 
quickly." 23 

That the premillennial teaching did not become normative 
for the fraternity can probably be explained by the fact that all 
were not in complete agreement. I deduce such from Quinter's 
co-editor, Henry Kurtz, in his articles introducing the Fraternity 
of German Baptist beginning in The Monthly Gospel Visitor of 
1851. In exegeting the beatitudes, "for theirs is the kingdom of 
heaven," he underscores the is and adds: "The little word 'is' 
signifies something present, not future; something near at hand, 
and not afar off. There is not only a future, but a present sal- 
vation prepared for sinful and fallen mankind. . . . Yes we may 
sing truly of this kingdom on earth." 24 Still the kingdom is not 
of this world, but to speak of this Kurtz moves into the tradi- 


tional Brethren language about nonconformity instead of futur- 
istic talk about the advent. 

In the midst of revivalist and premillennial currents, it 
might be interesting to look at the status of the doctrine of 
universalism which some of the early Brethren retained as a 
legacy from Radical Pietism. In the annual meeting minute 
dealing with George Wolfe in 1856, there was a denial that the 
doctrine of universal salvation ever obtained foothold in the 
brotherhood. At the same time it was admitted that "a good 
many of our ancient faithful brethren may have held the doctrine 
of restoration, and many of our dearly beloved brethren may 
still hold it." 25 The distinction between universal salvation and 
universal restoration was important. Whereas the adherents to 
the former denied punishment and hell, the later attempted to 
reconcile biblical teachings about judgment, punishment, and 
hell, with the biblical promises that ultimately all will be 
restored in Christ. The strong vestiges of this doctrine which 
remained probably reflected the strong emphasis on God's love 
which remained in the midst of the newer currents of emphases 
on judgment, hell, and damnation. The status of the doctrine of 
restoration was probably well summarized by James Quinter in 
1858 in the Gospel Visitor. 26 "There are those among us," he 
wrote, "who hold this belief, namely the wicked will not be pun- 
ished forever. It is by no means universal among us. Not held 
by the body. Where it is held, it is individual or private 


In some respects it may be accurate to describe the Breth- 
ren as retreating to the wilderness following the revolutionary 
war. But in so doing they were becoming a part of the most 
important thing which was happening in their time, namely, the 
implantation of new communities and settlement of a continent, 
often at the expense of others (our peace church forefather did 
not kill Indians, but they did often move in shortly after the 
troops had cleared the way). As they determined by and large 
the geographical spread which the Brethren know today, they 
were also formulating the doctrine and polity on which we con- 
tinue to build and concerning which we continue to grapple. 
Many of the writings and documents such as the statement on 
war and nonresistance by the Annual Meeting of 1785 remain 
basic today. Though our heritage does not bind us to the past 
and instructs us always to be open to new light as it breaks forth 
from the Word, we can still be greatly enriched in our pilgrimage 
by increasing knowledge of and dialogue with the Brethren of 
the so-called wilderness period. 



The best bibliographical listing of Brethren writings for these years is to 
be found in Donald F. Durnbaugh and Lawrence W. Schultz, 
"A Brethren Bibliography, 1713-1963," Brethren Life and Thought, 
IX (Winter and Spring, 1964), 3-177. And Donald F. Durnbaugh, 
"Supplement and Index to the Brethren Bibliography," Brethren 
Life and Thought, XI (Spring, 1966), 37-54. 


1 Minutes of the Annual Meetings of the Brethren (Dayton, Ohio: 
Christian Publishing Association Print, 1886), 52. 

2 Henry Kurtz, The Brethren's Encyclopedia . . . (Columbiana, 
Ohio: By the Author, 1867), vii. 

* Ibid., 126. 

4 David Eller, "The Brethren Settlement Along Hinkson Creek 
and the Ministry of Peter Hon: a Study in Kentucky Church History." 
Unpublished Master of Arts in Theology Thesis, Bethany Theological Sem- 
inary, 1971. 

5 Kurtz, op. cit., v-vii. 

6 Minutes . . . , op. cit., Art. 12, 96. 

7 Donald Durnbaugh, The Brethren in Colonial America (Elgin: 
The Brethren Press, 1967), 449. 

* Ibid., 454. 
9 Ibid., 174. 

10 Kurtz, op. cit., 133-34. 

11 Minutes . . . , op. cit., Art. 8, 211. 
it Ibid., Art. 6, 59. 

13 Ibid., Art. 5, 123-24. 

1 4 William Thurman, The Doctrine of Baptism, or the Washing or 
Regeneration Restored (Philadelphia: Published by John Goodyear, 1867). 

15 Durnbaugh, Brethren in Colonial America, 464. 
™Ibid., 467. 

17 Ibid., 467-68. 

18 Minutes . . . , op. cit., Art. 21, 136. 

19 Kurtz, op. cit., 48. 

20 Minutes . . . , op. cit., Art. 2, 57. 

21 Peter Nead, Theological Writings on Various Subjects; Or a 
Vindication of Primitive Christianity (Dayton, O.: Published by Author 
by B. F. Ells, 1859), 203-38. 

22 James Quinter, Gospel Visitor, Vol. 6 (1856), 336-37. 

23 Ibid., 337. 

24 Henry Kurtz, Gospel Visitor, Vol. 1 (1851), 38. 

25 Kurtz, The Brethren's Encyclopedia, op. cit., 108. 

26 James Quinter, Gospel Visitor, Vol. 8 (1858), 241. 

27 Ibid. 


How The Brethren Were Influencing the 

Development of Other Denominations 

Between 1785 and 1860 

Roger E. Sappington 

AS I stated in the Introduction to my previous paper, I am 
particularly impressed at this time by five significant activ- 
ities of the Brethren in the years from 1785 to 1860. Four of 
these I have already examined, and the fifth has spilled over 
into a separate paper. I believe that the Brethren were influenc- 
ing the development of a number of other churches, and I propose 
to examine in some detail the influence of the Brethren on the 
(1) Brethren in Christ, (2) Universalists, and (3) Disciples 
of Christ. In my original outline of this paper, I included a fourth 
group, the Separate Baptists, but when I wrote the paper I 
dropped that group from my consideration both because I was 
running out of time and because I was having some difficulty 
in discovering evidence that was as precise as I wanted to have. 
From the evidence I have seen, I am still convinced that the 
Brethren were having an influence on the Separate Baptists in 
some ways. 

The way in which the Brethren were influencing the devel- 
opment of the Brethren in Christ Church is a good place to begin 
this paper, because the events were taking place about 1785 and 
because the influence is quite clear-cut. In fact, it has sometimes 
been thought that the Brethren in Christ were some kind of a 
split from the Brethren or Dunkers, but that interpretation is 
not accepted by present-day historians, including Professor 
Carlton Wittlinger, who is now preparing a new history of the 
Brethren in Christ; a portion of that study dealing with the 
beginning of the church has been published as an article in the 
Mennonite Quarterly Review. 1 To that article, I am deeply in- 
debted, for his research in the primary and secondary records 
has been much more intensive than mine. 

To go back to the eighteenth century, what seems to have 
happened was that a small group of six to twelve Germans in 


eastern Pennsylvania had a Pietistic conversion experience as 
the result of the ideas and preaching of Martin Boehm, a 
Mennonite preacher who later became one of the founders of 
the United Brethren in Christ. One of the most prominent leaders 
of this small group of Germans was Jacob Engel; others in the 
group included members of the Bentzner, Beyer, Funk, Geider, 
Hollinger, Meyer, Sider Stern, and Winger families. Some of 
these individuals had been Mennonites, but there is no positive 
evidence that any of them had been Brethren. 

Even though some of the members of the group had been 
Mennonites, they evidently were not satisfied to become a part 
of the Mennonite church and consequently they looked around 
for a new church home. They could not follow Boehm into the 
United Brethren, for that group had not yet been organized. 
Also, his views on the ordinances of the church and his relation- 
ships with Christians of non-German backgrounds alienated this 
group of Pennsylvania Germans. These individuals were engaged 
in some intensive Bible study, and one of their conclusions was 
that baptism by trine immersion was the most correct form. 

Baptism by trine immersion could be secured in Pennsyl- 
vania from only one source, and that was a Brethren minister. 
Therefore, these Germans who eventually became Brethren in 
Christ sought baptism from a Brethren minister. One report 
from a Brethren source indicates that they first went to Elder 
Christian Longenecker of the White Oak congregation. However, 
Longenecker was reported to be having some difficulty with the 
Brethren at this time and he told the group that "the Brethren 
Church was not any more on the true foundation, that they have 
the form, but lack life and spirit, and advised them to start a 
church for themselves, and build on the true foundation." The 
conclusion drawn by the writer of this account in the History 
of the Church of the Brethren of the Eastern District of Penn- 
sylvania was, "It is reasonable to suppose that if Elder Longe- 
necker had been at peace with the church, and the church with 
him, and he had done his duty, the River Brethren Church would 
never have been organized ; that is, if they had been honest, and 
sincere, and the presumption is that they were." 2 

With this recommendation from Longenecker, it would be 
reasonable to expect this group to go out and organize their own 
church, but the problem of securing baptism had not been solved. 
They resolved to go to another Brethren minister, and this time 
they went to Elder George Miller. After they had indicated to 
him their desire to secure trine immersion baptism but then to 
organize their own church, he refused to baptize them, "saying 
that he had no authority to administer baptism apart from their 


acceptance of Dunker membership." He is reported to have said : 
"If you want to begin something of your own you would better 
baptize yourselves." 3 

All of the evidence agrees that these religious seekers now 
went out and arranged to baptize themselves by trine immersion. 
The name of the first baptizer, the date of the baptism, and the 
place of the baptism were not recorded. The baptism may have 
taken place in the Susquehanna River, and if not there, then 
almost certainly in one of the many streams that flow into that 
river. On that basis, the term "River Brethren" has been widely 
used to refer to this new group of Christians. One of the reasons 
for this designation was to distinguish them from the other group 
of Brethren or Dunkers, since there were so many similarities 
between the two groups. 

Professor Wittlinger lias provided an excellent summary of 
the similarities and the differences between the two groups. On 
the one hand, the Brethren in Christ "stressed the wearing of the 
beard, selected church officials by election rather than by lot, held 
love feasts in connection with communion services, conducted 
deacon visitations of district memberships, and baptized by trine 
immersion. All of these practices were characteristically Dunker ; 
none was characteristically Mennonite." A few of the founders 
had "a Mennonite heritage; nothing can be said with assurance 
about the others. It is clear however, that the founders owed 
more to Dunker than to Mennonite influences in the formulation 
of their theology and folkways." On the other hand, Wittlinger 
concluded that the Brethren in Christ could not accept member- 
ship in the Brethren church because "the two groups differed 
basically on the meaning of baptism. The Dunkers, who stood 
aloof from the pietistic awakening, linked baptism with the re- 
mission of sins. In other words, they baptized for the remission 
of sins on the basis of the applicant's repentance and faith rather 
than on the basis of his prebaptismal testimony to the new birth. 
This position was irreconcilable with the Brethren [in Christ] 
view that baptism was an act of obedience by which the applicant 
testified to his pre-baptismal experience of the new birth. The 
point at issue was really a fundamental difference in defining 
the nature of conversion. The Brethren [in Christ] could not 
make common cause with anyone who rejected the pietistic view 
of conversion as a personal, heartfelt experience occurring prior 
to baptism and of which baptism was merely a symbol." 4 

The Brethren and the Brethren in Christ certainly had much 
in common, including such things as nonconformity in dress, 
the use of the affirmation instead of the oath, the refusal to 
participate in military service, the reluctance to use the courts, 


and total abstinence from alcoholic beverages. In fact, there is 
evidence that as the two groups departed from their home base 
in Pennsylvania and emigrated to the frontier, they dropped 
their differences and combined forces in facing the problems of 
frontier life. When the Woodstock congregation of the Brethren 
church was organized in 1827 to include all of the territory be- 
tween the Flat Rock congregation and to Potomac River in north- 
ern Virginia, six of the twelve charter members had been mem- 
bers of the River Brethren. 5 Their isolation apparently had led 
them to join with the religious group most similar to their ideas 
in the organization of this congregation. 

Just as some of the Brethren and the Brethren in Christ 
were merging on the frontier because of the similarity of their 
ideas, some of the Brethren on the frontier were merging with 
another group called the Universalists because of the similarity 
of their ideas. 

The historical relationship between the Brethren and the 
Universalist Church in America has never been studied in its 
overall detail. This paper obviously does not propose to fulfill 
that need, but simply to outline briefly some of the areas in which 
the Brethren were making an impact on the development cf 

When and how this relationship began is not completely 
clear, and since it occurred before 1785, it is not within the scope 
of this paper to explore that problem. It is clear that by 1785 
some of the Brethren were accepting Universalist ideas, whether 
or not they recognized them as such, and were influencing the 
development of Universalism in America. At that time, Elhanan 
Winchester, who was a prominent defender of Universalism, 
was preaching and writing in Philadelphia. Probably, Winchester 
was making more of an impact on the Brethren than the other 
way around, although he was much impressed by the character 
of the Brethren as well as by their beliefs. 6 

Winchester also made an impact on the Brethren through 
Timothy Banger, who came to America from England in 1793 
with a letter of introduction from Winchester to Dr. Benjamin 
Rush, in which Banger was described as "a promising young 
man." Banger evidently worshipped with the Philadelphia 
Universalists for the next twenty-five years; when that group 
accepted Unitarian ideas, he withdrew and associated with the 
Brethren. He became an elder in 1824, and according to the 
Universalist historian, Richard Eddy, he "was for a long time 
associated with Peter Keyser and James Lynd in their ministry 
at the meetings in Crown Street, Philadelphia, and German- 
town." 7 That Banger could move so easily from the Universalist 


Church to the Brethren was an indication of the similarity of 
their ideas. That the Brethren in the Philadelphia area were 
maintaining a separate identity, however, was confirmed by 
another Universalist historian, Thomas Whittemore, writing in 
1830: "There is, at this day, a regular congregation of Win- 
chesterian Universalists, who have a Meeting House of consid- 
erable size in the Northern Liberties [in Philadelphia]. They 
have never joined the Universalists as a denomination Their 
pastor is a Mr. Keyser, a respectable merchant." 8 

Bj' the time Whittemore was writing in 1830, he could also 
report the development of Universalism among the Dunkers of 
Lancaster County. About 1827, two Universalist preachers from 
Philadelphia were invited to preach in Lancaster County, and 
"their labors were crowned with great success," according to 
Whittemore. Several Brethren ministers accepted Universalism, 
including Jacob Myers, A. B. Grosh, and Samuel Longenecker. 
A Universalist journal in the German language, entitled Der 
Frohliche Botschafter, was published from 1829 to 1838 in Lan- 
caster County by J. Myers and G. Grosh. In response to a ques- 
tionnaire from Whittemore, A. B. Grosh responded : "I find many 
Restoration ists among the German Baptists, the Lutherans, and 
the Reformed Churches ; the old Mennonists are nearly all ; . . . 
But very few will care publicly to own this faith, since the name 
is attached to it." 9 

At the same time that Winchester was preaching in Penn- 
sylvania and the Brethren in that state were accepting his brand 
of Universalism, the Brethren in the Carolinas were making a 
major impact on the development of Universalism in the South. 
Two Brethren ministers, John Ham in North Carolina and David 
Martin in South Carolina, began to preach Universalist ideas 
in the 1780's. Both were very persuasive preachers and both 
won large numbers of people, including Brethren, to their ideas. 
Ham was eventually disfellowshipped by the Brethren, probably 
because there were strong leaders in North Carolina, like Jacob 
Stutzman and Jehu Burkhart, who disagreed with him. His ideas 
lived on, however, because his followers moved to the western 

David Martin was never disfellowshipped, according to the 
available records, probably because he converted all of the 
Brethren in South Carolina to his point-of-view. One of Martin's 
followers was Giles Chapman, who also followed Martin in 
preaching Universalist ideas. But there was no Universalist 
Church in the Carolinas at this time, according to the Univer- 
salist historians. Note carefully what Whittemore wrote: 
"Neither Mr. Chapman, nor any of his brethren knew of the 


existence of any Universalists in the United States besides them- 
selves ; nor did he become acquainted with the fact, until on his 
death bed [in 1819], when a friend accidentlly procured and read 
to him Ballou's Treatise on Atonement. The dying man was in 
ecstacy, and so strong was the effect upon his feelings it is said 
to have allayed his bodily pain, though his suffering had been 
extreme." 10 Evidently, the Brethren were making a major im- 
pact on the development of Universalism in South Carolina. 
When a State Convention of Universalists was first organized 
in 1830, representatives were present from the Newberry and 
Fairfield Districts, which were two of the areas in which there 
had once been Brethren settlements. 11 

When the Brethren moved to the western frontier from the 
southern states, they frequently took their Universalist ideas 
with them. Very little is known about the relationship between 
the Brethren and the Universalists in Kentucky. David Benedict, 
a Baptist historian, wrote in 1848 that some of the followers of 
John Ham "moved into the Green river country, Ky., and caused 
great confusion among the brotherhood there as well as in North 
Carolina." 12 By the 1820's quite a number of Brethren in Ken- 
tucky had been disfellowshipped ; probably, a number of factors 
were involved, including the impact of Universalist ideas on the 
Brethren in Kentucky. What impact the Brethren were having 
on the development of Universalism in Kentucky is not clear. 
Whittemore reported: "There are many Universalists in the 
States of Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In a letter, 
dated Feb. 1826, a preacher says, ... In Kentucky our friends 
are not so numerous. I have heard of but one society in that State, 
who believe in the restoration of all things. It is in the neighbor- 
hood of Lexington. Brother John Rice, a German, is the pastor, 
and I have been told he is a man of many virtues. I have been 
informed also, that there are two preachers of our order, living 
in the lower part of the State." 13 

One of the young men who lived for several years in a Breth- 
ren settlement in Kentucky after 1800 and who was very much 
influenced by Universalist ideas was George Wolfe, Jr. By 1808 
he had moved to southern Illinois and after his baptism and call 
to the ministry by the Brethren, he spent the remainder of a 
long life preaching the Brethren brand of Universalism and in- 
fluencing the development of Universalism in Illinois and 
Missouri. Eddy quoted at length from a Universalist minister, 
John A. Gurley, who was the editor of the Star of the West: 

On the day following the one I spent in Quincy, [in 
18391 I attended an appointment about fifteen miles distant, 
and delivered a discourse to a very large congregation of 


Dunkards. I was much pleased with the visit and with the 
people. Here I became acquainted with Father Wolf, a 
preacher of the above order, but of our faith in all things 
relating to the doctrine of the Bible. He is a remarkable man 
for his powers of reasoning, and is esteemed by those best 
acquainted with him, as possessing natural powers of mind 
equal to any in the State. He has preached Universalism 
more than twenty-five years, and has been the means of con- 
verting hundreds, and perhaps thousands. His success in the 
southern part of the State has been great, and his talents and 
character command the highest esteem and respect wherever 
he is known. He preaches to a regular society where he resides, 
statedly; and his congregations are uniformly large. Great 
anxiety was manifested by him and his society to hear an 
eastern preacher; for although old in the faith, they had 
never listened to one connected with our denomination. They 
desired to hear for themselves, that they might know of a cer- 
tainty whether we agreed with them in sentiment. I delivered 
therefore a doctrinal sermon, to which was given the most 
fixed attention; and, as I proceeded, I was wonderfully pleased 
at the appearance of the assembly. Not a word was lost, and 
each one seemed to say, "There! that is just what we believe; 
that is our doctrine. How singular! he preaches precisely 
like our preachers, and uses the same arguments." And at the 
close of the services all seemed satisfied with the sentiments 
put forth; and Father Wolf assured me that what I had ad- 
vanced was in perfect harmony with his own belief, and that 
of his denomination. 14 

Eddy himself put it concisely when he wrote: "The first preacher 
of Universalism in Illinois was the Rev. George Wolf, a Dunker, 
in 1812. The doctrine of the final salvation of all souls was al- 
ways prominent in his preaching." 15 

George Wolfe was also very influential among the Brethren 
in Missouri. Eddy's information was not very complete regard- 
ing Missouri, for he did not know "who were the pioneers of 
Universalism in this State." He had learned that "as early as 
1837 or 1838, Rev. J. P. Fuller organized a church in Troy; and 
from the fact that the members were admitted by immersion, 
we infer that it was in a Dunkard community, — as many 
Dunkards believed and openly preached the doctrine of Univer- 
salism." 16 The Clingingsmith account confirmed Eddy's sus- 
picions : "Now in these western churches the Brethren had been 
in the habit of preaching the restitution, and especially in the 
church there in Cape Girardeau County, Mo." He indicated that 
there was quite a struggle to preserve the Brethren identity, but 
eventually the Brethren were "overcome by so much opposition, 
and left off the ordinances of the house of God. And then they 
soon went in the broad ways of the world. . . They call themselves 
Universalists, but I cannot see any difference between them 


and the world." 17 Evidently, the Brethren were getting Univer- 
salism established in Missouri, just as they had previously done 
in a number of other states. 

The final denomination which was being influenced in its 
development during these years by the Brethren was the Disciples 
of Christ. Any discussion of this relationship must take into 
account Professor Mallott's contentions which he set forth in 
his Studies in Brethren History: "There are striking likenesses 
between the Brethren and the Disciples. These cannot be docu- 
mented as to their source. But Campbell's writings show that 
he was familiar with the Brethren. Language was no doubt a 
bar, but the influence of the Brethren upon Campbell was never- 
theless profound. And through this influence the Brethren can 
be said in some degree to have entered into one of the most suc- 
cessful of indigenous American evangelistic movements." 18 
Mallott's claim that Campbell was familiar with the Brethren 
is difficult to document. 

A very interesting story regarding Campbell and the Breth- 
ren was described somewhat incidentally by the Universalist 
historian, Richard Eddy, who has already been quoted in con- 
nection with Universalism : "About fifty years ago [about 1840], 
Alexander Campbell, founder of the sect known as the Disciples, 
visited Philadelphia, and attempted to induce the Dunker church 
in that city to enroll themselves among his disciples, and thus 
form the nucleus of a larger movement. His proposition was 
made to Timothy Banger, one of the preachers in the church, 
an avowed and outspoken believer in Universal Restoration. Mr. 
Banger replied: — "We are both for baptism by immersion, and 
I do not see any reason why we should join you, that would not 
equally require you to join usV Mr. Campbell answered, 'You 
celebrate the Lord's Supper twice a year, whereas we celebrate 
it every Lord's day.' 'That,' replied Mr. Banger, 'is only increas- 
ing the number of times, but does not touch the principle. What 
do you say concerning the washing of feet? We do that: do you? 
Besides, we hold to the restitution of all things: do youT Neg- 
ative replies sealed the conclusion : 'Our testimony is altogether 
the largest and grandest; and vainly you try to argue us into 
relinquishment of it.' " 19 At least Banger represented one Breth- 
ren congregation which refused to be swayed by the persuasion 
of Alexander Campbell. 

Mallott's contentions were based largely on the geographical 
proximity of the Brethren and the early center of Campbellite 
activity. Alexander Campbell and his father, Thomas, lived in 
Washington County, Pennsylvania in the years around 1810 when 
the Campbellite ideas were beginning to take shape. The evidence 


seems to indicate that there was a very early Brethren settlement 
in Washington County, which may have been in existence by 
1760, and certainly there was an organized congregation, called 
the Ten Mile congregation, in that county before 1800. 20 Prob- 
ably, the language barrier, which Mallott conceded, prevented 
any significant intercourse between the Dunkers and the 
Campbells, for there is no evidence that either Campbell spoke 
German. At any rate, when the Campbells, who were Presby- 
terian in background, came to the conclusion that they ought to 
be baptized by immersion, they went to an English-speaking 
Baptist minister in the area named Mathias Luce, who baptized 
them 21 How much the Brethren had influenced this decision by 
the Campbells is not clear. 

For a number of years the Campbells accepted membership 
in the Baptist Church, but by 1830 the independent nature of 
the Campbells was being questioned by the Baptists; conse- 
quently, the Campbells moved in the direction of organizing an 
independent denomination, widely known as the Disciples of 
Christ. In some areas the Brethren seemed to have simply fol- 
lowed the leadership of other groups and combined their forces 
with other denominations to form Disciples churches. For ex- 
ample, a report from Fleming County, Kentucky in January, 
1833, indicated that a Baptist church had voted unanimously "in 
favor of a restoration of the apostolic order in the church." John 
P. Vaughn, the minister, also noted : "This union embraced mem- 
bers from four sects, viz. — Baptists, Methodists, Christian body, 
and Tunkers. This church consisted of about one hundred mem- 
bers and we are prospering." 22 It seems evident from this report 
that the Baptists had been the leaders in the organization of this 

In one area, however, the Brethren seemed to be carrying 
a much larger share of the responsibility in influencing the 
development of the Disciples Church; that area was southern 
Indiana. One of the individuals who was very directly involved 
in the establishment of the first Disciples Church in Indiana was 
John Wright. He had been born in 1785 in Rowan County, North 
Carolina in a Brethren home, although his father had earlier been 
a Quaker and probably had become Brethren in North Carolina. 
The family was a typical migrating American family ; for a few 
years, the family lived in southwestern Virginia and then moved 
to Wayne County, Kentucky. After marrying twice — his first 
wife died after two years of marriage — Wright moved to south- 
ern Indiana in 1807. The following year, "he and his wife were 
immersed in the Ohio River, by William Summers, of Ken- 
tucky." 23 Although no one has identified this minister as a 


Brethren minister, it is interesting to note that one of the prom- 
inent Brethren families in South Carolina was that of Joseph 
Summers. 24 According to the available evidence, John Wright 
"united with the Baptist Church, and in the latter part of the 
same year be began to preach." In 1810, he moved to Washing- 
ton County, Indiana, near the town of Salem, and after his father 
had moved to the same area, they organized ten congregations, 
which were combined into the Blue River Association. 25 

A second individual who was very directly involved in the 
establishment of the Disciples Church in southern Indiana was 
the Brethren minister, Joseph Hostetler, whose early experiences 
as a Brethren minister have already been explained. The evidence 
seems to indicate that about 1825, "he was accused, by some of 
his brethren, of disseminating heterodox opinions." 26 Eventually, 
he was brought to a trial, but he defended his position as Biblical 
so well that he was not disfellowshipped. However, the experi- 
ence had created an alienation from the ruling authorities among 
the Brethren and in 1828 Hostetler left the church to associate 
with the Campbellite "reformation," as it was called. With him 
went some fifteen Brethren congregations in southern Indiana. 

One of the first places to which Hostetler had turned in his 
alienation from the Brethren was to John Wright's Blue River 
Association of Free Will Baptists. Hostetler accepted Wright's 
proposition that "the two groups unite, face their problems to- 
gether, and call themselves 'Christians.' " According to a recent 
historian of the Disciples in Indiana, Henry K. Shaw, "This 
union was effected and became the first of such unions among 
the religious bodies which later became identified with the 
Disciples' movement in Indiana." 27 This new group now began 
to look for other groups with which such unions might be imple- 
mented, and in that hope representatives, including John Wright 
and his brother, Peter, were sent to a conference of the New 
Light followers of Barton W. Stone at Edinburg in Bartholomew 
County, Indiana in July, 1828. Although there are no minutes 
of the Edinburg meeting, the evidence clearly indicates that the 
two groups merged; this new merged group later united with 
the Silver Creek Association of Regular Baptists with John 
Wright playing an important role as a mediator between the 
two groups. By this move, some three thousand members of the 
two groups were united. 28 Eventually, in the 1830's this unified 
group became more clearly identified with the Disciples of Christ 
Church as it developed in Indiana. Thus, the Brethren through 
such men as John Wright and Joseph Hostetler had played a 
significant role in the early development of the Disciples of 
Christ Church in southern Indiana. 


In conclusion, the Brethren historian is challenged by the 
possibility of filling in some of the gaps in our own historical 
record by utilizing the records of other religious groups. Breth- 
ren historians have had some acquaintance with the relation 
between the Brethren and the Brethren in Christ and between 
the Brethren and the Universalists, but the historical record in 
both cases is significantly supplemented by utilizing materials 
gathered by the historians of those groups. In the case of the 
relation between the Brethren and the Disciples, especially in 
southern Indiana, previous Brethren writers have been com- 
pletely unaware of the early Brethren congregations in southern 
Indiana. Thus, our knowledge of the early Brethren in that area 
is very largely dependent on Disciple sources. We owe a tremen- 
dous debt of gratitude to these other groups whose historians 
and writers were describing events in the life of the nineteenth 
century Brethren. Indeed, they help to cast new light on what 
had once been considered the "Dark Ages" in the life of 
the Brethren! 


1 Carlton O. Wittlinger, "The Origin of the Brethren in Christ," 
The Mennonite Quarterly Review, XL VIII (lanuary, 1974), 55-72. 

2 The Committee, History of the Church of the Brethren of the 
Eastern District of Pennsylvania (Lancaster, Pennsylvania: The New Era 
Printing Company, 1915), page 383. 

3 Wittlinger, "Brethren in Christ," page 64. 

4 Ibid., pages 59-60, 65. 

5 Roger E. Sappington, The Brethren in Virginia (Harrisonburg, 
Virginia: Printed for The Committee for Brethren History in Virginia by the 
Park View Press, 1973), page 43. 

6 For more information on Winchester and the Brethren, see Roger 
E. Sappington, "Eighteenth Century Non-Brethren Sources of Brethren His- 
tory, II," Brethren Life and Thought, II (Spring, 1957), 69-72. 

7 Richard Eddy, Universalism in America, A History (Boston: 
Universalist Publishing House, 1891), II, 72-73. 

8 Thomas Whittemore, The Modern History of Universalism (Bos- 
ton: Published by the Author, 1830), pages 415-416. 

9 Ibid., pages 440-441. 
™Ibid., pages 421-422. 

1 1 For a detailed discussion of Universalism in the Carolinas, see 
Roger E. Sappington, The Brethren in the Carolinas (Kingsport, Tennessee: 
Privately printed by the Watson Lithographing Company, Inc., 1972), pages 

12 David Benedict, A General History of the Baptist Denomination 
in America (New York: Lewis Colby and Company, 1848), page 913. 

13 Whittemore, Modern History of Universalism, pages 430-431. 


14 Eddy, Universalism in America, A History, I, 40-41. 

15 Richard Eddy, History of Universalism, volume X of American 
Church History (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1903), page 441. 

16 Eddy, Universalism in America, A History, II, 386. 

1 7 John Clingingsmith, "Short Historical Sketch of the Far Western 
Brethren of the so-called Dunkard Church . . . ," typescript in the Historical 
Archives of the Church of the Brethren General Offices, Elgin, Illinois, 
pages 14-15. 

18 Floyd E. Mallot, Studies in Brethren History (Elgin: Brethren 
Publishing House, 1954), pages 97-98. 

19 Abel C. Thomas, A Century of Universalism, page 160, quoted 
in Eddy, Universalism in America, A History, I, pages 38-39. 

20 W. J. Hamilton, editor, Two Centuries of the Church of the 
Brethren in Western Pennsylvania, 1751-1950 (Elgin: Printed for the His- 
torical Committee by Brethren Publishing House, 1953), pages 411-415. 

21 Robert Richardson, Memoirs of Alexander Campbell (Philadel- 
phia: J. B. Lippincott & Co., 1868), I, 395-399. 

22 Millennial Harbinger, 1833, pages 140-141, quoted in A. W. 
Fortune, The Disciples in Kentucky (St. Louis: Christian Board of Publica- 
tion, 1932), page 103. 

23 Madison Evans, Biographical Sketches of the Pioneer Preachers 
of Indiana (Philadelphia: J. Challen & Sons, 1862), pages 29-30. 

24 Sappington, Brethren in the Carolinas, pages 58-59. 

25 Evans, Pioneer Preachers, pages 30-31. 

26 Ibid., page 64. 

27 Henry K. Shaw, Hoosier Disciples (St. Louis: Published by The 
Bethany Press for the Association of the Christian Churches in Indiana, 
1966), page 79. 

28 Evans, Pioneer Preachers, pages, 32-34. 

A.T.B. thanks the following for permission to print materials under 
copyright: Mennonite Quarterly Review, Walter Klaassen, editor and Carlton 
O. Wittlinger, author, "The Origin of the Brethren in Christ;" Brethren Pub- 
lishing House, Elgin, IL, Studies in Brethren History, by Floyd E. Mallot. 


The Brethren — 1785-1860, Reconsidered 

in 1974 

Robert G. Clouse 

THE papers given at the Brethren Writers Conference at 
Ashland Theological Seminary in April, 1974 represents the 
historiography of most of the branches of the Tunker fraternity. 
They also reflect some of the continuing concerns of the 
divisions of the church. It is a mark of ecumenical maturity and 
a tribute to the kindness of the hosts at Ashland Theological 
Seminary that such a congenial conference could be held after 
our church has experienced so many painful splits. One is often 
tempted to make a case study of the Brethren Church to demon- 
strate some of the dangers of fragmentation inherent in the 
Protestant position. Although numerically small compared to 
the major Protestant sects, the Brethren have experienced re- 
peated schisms. The seamless robe of the church has indeed been 
repeatedly rent. Throughout this meeting, however, there was 
a genuine concern to understand a variety of views concerning 
nineteenth century Brethren history. 

Several points linger in the mind of this writer. First is 
the reconsideration of what has become the traditional view of 
Brethren development. As Professor Durnbaugh states: "The 
focus of this now-traditional approach is to divide Brethren 
history — like ancient Gaul — into three parts. With minor differ- 
ences in nomenclature and chronology they are: 1) a period of 
early or colonial history (from 1708 to the Revolutionary War) ; 
2) a period of eclipse or wilderness (from the Revolutionary 
War to 1850) ; and 3) a period of recovery or renaissance (from 
1850 to the present)." 1 He continues to explain that this view 
of high achievement during the colonial era has been overstated 
and that the picture of Brethren stagnation during the wilder- 
ness period has also been exaggerated. Evidence is given by 
Durnbaugh and by Dale Brown and Roger Sappington that 
serves to develop a more favorable outlook on the wilderness 
period of Brethren history. 


Many of the trends that are found in the Brethren Church 
during the years 1785-1860 are continued by the Old Order 
Brethren. Their position is explained in the paper given by 
Marcus Miller at the Conference. Professor Brown suggests 
that some of these emphases would be unity, legalism, and sim- 
plicity in addition to the Brethren distinctives such as the love 
feast and a peculiar mode of baptism. In short, one comes away 
from these papers with the impression that the Old Order 
counter-cultural emphasis is of greater value than the Progres- 
sive Brethren attitude which attempted to adjust to the emerg- 
ing American nation during the nineteenth century. 

Such interpretations can lead others less skilled in history 
to some strange conclusions. Hence Arthur Gish, a student of 
Brown and Dumbaugh, can write: "Out of personal involvement 
in the New Left has come a new appreciation for the radical 
heritage of the Christian faith in general and the Anabaptist 
tradition in particular. Although raised in the Church of the 
Brethren, I was unaware of the radical nature of this tradition 
until I had had contact with the New Left. The beard of 
the protester gave me a new appreciation for my Anabaptist 
grandfather's beard. His beard symbolizes for him something 
very similar to what the beard means for the protester. When 
I asked my grandfather why he grew a beard his reply was that 
it was to show that he was different from the world. The beard 
of the protester is to demonstrate that he is not part of the 
establishment. My own beard is a conscious attempt to bring 
together these two radical perspectives." 2 The nineteenth cen- 
tury emphasis is identified with Anabaptism and then roman- 
ticized in Gish's interpretation. As the New Left or counter- 
culture has many of the same ideas this becomes a very popular 
way to interpret Brethren history. 

One must be very careful of this sort of present-mindedness. 
In fact, it could be as mistaken as the Progressive Brethren 
historiography which tended to downgrade the wilderness period. 
As Durnbaugh reminds us, early Brethren historians were con- 
scious of belonging to a religious group that was commonly 
thought to be a small, backward rural sect. When they moved 
into a wider society and became aware of the educated world 
they must have had feelings of inferiority. In an attempt to 
overcome this attitude it was comforting to point to Christopher 
Sauer, the first Sunday School, the Germantown Academy, and 
other examples of the achievements of the early Brethren 
Church. These spokesmen also could challenge the conservative 
element of the Brethren Church by pointing to an earlier period 
of scholarly achievement. While perhaps they overemphasized 


the progressive nature of the colonial era one must guard against 
a condemnation of the Progressives. They did try to come to 
terms with the American dream. For many, Americanism has 
ended in the nightmare of the Indo- China War, Watergate, and 
a continuing unequal distribution of society's resources. How- 
ever, for others, America still represents a land of opportunity 
and justice. There are many aspects of the national outlook and 
achievement which a Christian should take great care in con- 
demning. Our nation has certain standards of justice shared 
by other liberal Western democracies which are based upon 
Christian ethical considerations. While many times we do not 
attain to these ideals, they remain as standards for us to strive 
for. Even the much-discussed American "civil religion" borrows 
heavily from the Christian faith. The American myth encour- 
ages people "to shake free of the limiting past ... in a struggling 
ascent . . . toward the realization of promise in an open gracious 
future." 3 The belief inherent in this vision of future hope and 
sacrificial dedication is not at odds with the Christian outlook. 
Followers of Christ can contribute their values to the society 
at these points. 

If we wish to influence our world with the Gospel of Christ 
we cannot turn our backs on the American dream. There are 
several reasons for this. First of all, it is the major opening to 
transcendence for many Americans. Second, it bears within itself 
a way to criticize American life, and, finally, no society exists 
without some unifying myth; so it seems unlikely that the 
American symbol system will be much different in the next 
hundred years than what it has been in the last three hundred. 

We must be careful that a pessimistic despair does not dull 
our Christian hope. The Progressive Brethren wished to be in- 
volved in the world rather than drop out into a counter culture 
which can easily lead to a pharisaic isolation. How to be in the 
world but not of the world had led to division within the ranks 
of the Progressive Brethren. One must remember that consid- 
erable latitude is required in judging others and their relation- 
ship to the present world order. The legalism of nineteenth 
century Brethrenism must give way to a more gracious outlook 
if one is to be salt and light in the last third of the twentieth 
century. When confronted by counter culture self-righteousness 
many still react as Holsinger did when he disagreed with those 
who felt that "the salvation of the church depended on the main- 
tenance of the 'order' or peculiar costume and habits of the 
fathers. . . ."« 

Another problem raised at the conference that deserves 
further attention is the relationship of the Brethren to other 


church bodies and new currents of religious thought. Professors 
Sappington and Brown both mention that large numbers of 
Brethren people were won over to the expanding Campbellite 
movement in Kentucky, southern Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. 
Although it is difficult to document, there is an interesting 
similarity in life style between the Disciples and the Breth- 
ren. Some connection between the movements remains to be 
explained. 5 

Premillennialism's influence on the Brethren during the 
decades of the 1840's and 1850's also ought to receive further 
study. Currently, there is a great deal of interest in the pre- 
millennialism of such writers as Hal Lindsey. 6 The Brethren 
Church which supports Grace Theological Seminary at Winona 
Lake, Indiana has been heavily influenced by premillennialism 
of the dispensationalist variety. This teaching originated in 
England with the Plymouth Brethren movement founded by 
John Nelson Darby. The currently popular version of millennial 
thinking teaches that the Kingdom of God was offered to the 
Jews at the time of Jesus but they rejected it and killed the king, 
consequently, the coming of the kingdom was postponed. During 
the years of the postponement, which includes the present age, 
the church is being formed. When the last individual to be con- 
verted through the church is won to Christ, the believers will 
be "raptured," i.e. miraculously withdrawn from the earth. Then 
the woes predicted in the Book of Revelation will be poured upon 
mankind. An evil ruler, the Antichrist, will form the most 
vigorous, anti-God religious, political, social, and economic 
totalitarianism that the world has ever seen. He will be defied 
by the Jews, however, who in turn will be won to Christ through 
their suffering. Finally, when the forces of evil are prepared to 
destroy the last of the believing Jews, Christ will return to earth 
in power with His saints and defeat the evil hosts. After the 
destruction of His enemies Christ will establish a kingdom over 
all the earth which will last one thousand years. During this 
period all of man's longings for perfect and complete justice will 
be fulfilled. The age will be characterized by universal peace, 
perfect righteousness, prosperity, and harmony which extends 
even to the animal world. At the end of this chiliad of joy there 
is to be a final rebellion against God called the battle of Gog and 
Magog. Again, the enemy is defeated by divine intervention and 
the last judgment is held. 

It would be interesting to compare the contemporary pre- 
millennial view with that held by a nineteenth century Brethren 
writer such as Peter Nead. Some student should also try to 
analyze why Christians turn to a premillennial eschatology. Some 


believe that this outlook is brought on by difficult conditions in 
society. However, others can point to premillennialists in seven- 
teenth century England and nineteenth century America who 
were actually improving their lot in society. It would also be 
interesting to notice the place of the Brethren Church in the 
transmitting of the eschatology of J. N. Darby to America. 7 

Professor Alderfer's paper raised several points of interest 
for those who attended the conference. One of the more interest- 
ing is the effect of nineteenth century revivalism upon the cul- 
ture in general. Dale Brown extends this analysis to the Brethren 
Church and its contact with revivalism. Professor Kent's re- 
marks point to the need to present the Gospel of Christ to others. 
All would agree with this, but the problem is whether revivalist 
preaching and methods are the best way to accomplish this goal. 
Does religious change come instantly or is such development 
based upon more long range teaching? As Professor Brown 
states of the nineteenth century Brethren attitude toward re- 
vivalism: "Their greatest points of opposition probably came 
at the points where the theology of religious experience was 
removed from the doctrine of the church. The Spirit did not 
come to the individual in conversion apart from the Spirit coming 
to us in terms of our relationship with the community of faith." 8 
The spirit of solid growth is a fine ideal and some of the methods 
of revivalism offend many of our sensibilities, however, the 
point remains that it is easy for a church to become stagnant 
and lethargic without some kind of awakening. The history of 
the church in general and of the Brethren in particular demon- 
strates that at times Christians need to be stirred by some new 
method of renewal and reform. 

The Brethren Writer's Conference was an encouraging 
experience for those who attended. Our church has a fine 
heritage with much to contribute to the difficult times in which 
We live. A nuclear age needs our testimony of peace, the environ- 
mental crisis needs our teaching of simplicity, but most of all a 
secular age needs our witness to the Gospel of our Lord Jesus 


1 Durnbaugh, p. 2. 

2 Arthur G. Gish, The New Left and Christian Radicalism (Grand 
Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1970) p. 49. 


3 Robert Benne and Philip Hefner, Defining America, a Christian 
Critique of the American Dream (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974) pp. 

4 Henry R. Holsinger, History of the Tunkers and the Brethren 
Church (Oakland, California: Pacific Press Publishing Co., 1901) p. 475. 

5 Notice the thesis of David Eller referred to by Professor Dale 
Brown in note 4. 

6 Hal Lindsey, The Late Great Planet Earth (Grand Rapids: Zon- 
dervan Publishing House, 1970). 

7 Clarence B. Bass, Backgrounds to Dispensationalism (Grand 
Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1960) and Ernest R. Sandeen, 
The Roots of Fundamentalism, British and American Millennarianism 1800- 
1930 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970). 

8 Dale Brown, p. 13. 



land Theological 


Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio 

Spring 1976 

u~ The a 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 


Spring, 1976 



Findings in Doctoral Programs of Ashland/ CHE RS Graduates 

Introduction to the Current Issue ------ 2 

A Model for Adult Education in the Tradition 
of the Believers' Church 

Richard E. Allison, D. Min. - 4 

The Testing of Simulation/Gaming as a Viable Tool 
in Christian Education at the College Level 

Donald R. Rinehart, D. Min. ------ 20 

A Christian Education Program Designed for the 

Patients at the Cleveland Psychiatric Institute 

Charles G. Ronkos - 35 

Editorial Committee: Owen H. Alderfer, editor 

Joseph N. Kickasola 
Joseph R. Shultz, Vice President 

Vol. IX No. 1 

Published by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 

Introduction to the Current Issue 

THE general theme for the Ashland Theological Bulletin for 
1976 is "Frontiers in Ministry." The three articles in the 
publication are summaries of doctoral studies completed by 
participants in the CHERS Doctor of Ministry program of 
the seminaries of the Ohio region. These three participants 
entered and preceded through the program by way of Ashland 
Theological Seminary. 

As the articles reflect, this doctor of ministry program is 
highly self-directing with the motivation, focus, and direction 
of the program coming from the participant. Many of the com- 
ponents are designed and organized by the participant including 
Core Faculty, Support Group, Proposal, and Evaluation. These 
studies, then, were initiated by the participants and worked 
through upon their initiative under the overall direction of the 
Coordinating Council of the CHERS institution. 

The studies here described represent new and creative 
approaches to ministry in several areas. The participants had 
no models to follow or designs to copy. Out of the need and 
challenge in the several contexts of ministry they hewed out 
programs for the situations. As such these articles represent 
frontiers in ministry. 

Richard E. Allison, whose program dealt with adult 
Christian education, is a graduate of Ashland College (A.B.), 
Ashland Theological Seminary (M. Div.) and Goshen College 
Biblical Seminary (M.R.E.). He received the D. Min. degree 
in 1975. As a pastor in the Brethren Church, ordained in 1959, 
Dr. Allison held posts in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. He 
concluded seven years of pastoral ministry at Jefferson Brethren 
Church, Goshen, Indiana in May of 1976 to devote full time to 
teaching responsibilities as Associate Professor of Christian 
Education at Ashland Theological Seminary. The writer holds 
posts in several major agencies of his denomination. 

Donald R. Rinehart is a professor in the Religion 
Department of Ashland College, the context in which he carried 
out his program dealing with simulation gaming. He is currently 
serving as chairman of the department as well as active teacher. 
The experiences that Dr. Rinehart, an ordained minister in the 
Brethren Church, brings to his present position include seven 
years of teaching at Ashland College, four years of pastoral 
ministry in the Brethren Church in Ohio, two years of youth 
ministry and two years of teaching in the Tucson Public Schools. 

His educational background includes the B.S. in Education, 
Ashland College, M. Ed., University of Arizona, and B.D. and 
M. Div., Ashland Theological Seminary. Dr. Rinehart received 
the D. Min. degree in 1974. 

Charles G. Ronkos, whose program dealt with the de- 
velopment of a Christian education program in the context of 
the Cleveland Psychiatric Institute, is presently Protestant 
Chaplain at C. P. I. An ordained minister in the Lutheran 
Church in America, Chaplain Ronkos has had pastoral experi- 
ence in Springfield, Ohio, and in missionary settings in Mon- 
tevideo and Rivera, Uraguay. In addition to his responsibilities 
at C. P. I., Dr. Ronkos carries administrative and teaching 
responsibilities in the Clinical Pastoral Education program of 
Ashland Theological Seminary conducted in the C. P. I. setting 
and teaches Pastoral Counseling and Group Dynamics at the 
Ashland campus of Ashland Theological Seminary. 

Chaplain Ronkos received the B.B.A. from University of 
Pittsburgh, B.D. from Hamma School of Theology, and M. Div. 
from Ashland Theological Seminary. He was awarded the 
D. Min. degree in 1973. He is active in several professional 
societies in his field and serves on several committees related 
to mental health services in the State of Ohio. 

Owen H. Alderfer, Editor 

A Model for Adult Education in the 
Tradition of the Believers' Church 

Richakd E. Allison 

THIS is a time of transition for adult education in the church. 
Following World War II, education 1 enjoyed a flourishing 
life in the church. During the latter part of the 1960's things 
began to change. Public interest in religion began to wane, 
social problems became more acute and financial support of all 
church enterprises began to decline. In addition, church educa- 
tion found itself in desperate need. 

The reasons for this are several. First, there is the con- 
fusion of education with a particular agent of education. In 
many circles, education is synonymous with Sunday School. 
However, the Sunday School is not so much an agency of edu- 
cation as it is an agency of a particular form of Protestantism 
and it cannot be easily or quickly turned into an educational 
agency. In addition, there is need for an appreciation of the 
educational role of the various agencies of the congregation. 
Secondly, there is a confusion of the work of the Spirit and 
the process of education. At the practical level, a lot of sloppy, 
ill-defined educational work, poor teacher preparation and inade- 
quate curriculum materials are excused because we say or think 
that the Holy Spirit is the real force. One should not be forced 
to choose between the work of the Spirit and the work of the 

Thirdly, adults, potentially the largest and most varied 
group in any congregation both in age and experience, are 
allotted proportionately the smallest amount of money, materials, 
variety and expertise. Yet everyone knows that adults form 
the power structures in church and in society. In spite of the 
above fact, in actual practice, adult education has tended to re- 
tain most of its almost century-old patterns. 2 The International 
Uniform Lesson series is still very much with us. It was adopted 
in 1872 when less than 10% of adults attended high school, and 
it focused on attaining religious literacy through systematic 

Bible study. With the passing of the decades, vast changes have 
emerged. The horizons of ability have been raised. Educational 
procedures have been revolutionized. Too often, little or nothing 
has changed with the adult class. Add to this the fact that in 
many congregations the adults are treated to the same fare as 
though they all possess identical needs. At least, this is what 
is implied by supplying only the uniform lessons. This practice 
assumes that age, socio-economic status, geography, family 
circumstances and all other similar factors are of little conse- 
quence. Reliance upon uniformity implies that all adults some- 
how fit the same religious mold. 

Fourthly, Protestantism in general has been failing to 
understand the meaning of church as church, tending to inter- 
pret church principally in terms of its institutional nature. 
Howard Grimes suggests that the church be considered both 
as an organism and a covenant community, believing that these 
two views serve as a corrective of each other. 3 This means that 
the church needs to be interpreted in terms of imagery appro- 
priate to the "people of God." God in history is shaping a people 
for himself. The organizing principle for adult education thus 
becomes the attempt to discover and to realize what it is to be 
the faithful people of God now. The context for this kind 
of education is the community of faith. 

In a time of transition, the temptation is to reach out to 
the fads of the day with little or no critical analysis of 
their long range value. To avoid this pitfall, one needs to 
develop historical perspective. This is one way to avoid repeating 
the errors of the past. Unless we know from whence we have 
come and the route we have taken it is almost impossible 
to know where we are and to understand where we are going. 
The particular heritage finding expression in this project is 
that of the Believers' Church. 

At the very heart of the Believers' Church is the under- 
standing of the church as a covenanting community. The central 
reality around which the church is shaped is the purpose of God 
in history to create a people for himself. The organizing prin- 
ciple is the attempt to discover and to realize what it is to be 
the faithful people of God now. 

The context is the community of faith. Key themes are the 
voluntary nature of the community, discernment of God's his- 
torical purposes, and His requirement for the community, min- 
istry, discipline, and mission. 

The possibility that the approach of the Believers' Church 
has for today is identified by Dr. J. Lawrence Burkholder in 
an address at the 1967 Conference on the Believers' Church. 

... It is one of the exciting facts of our time that many ideas and 
practices which have been emphasized by the Believers' Church 
are being introduced piecemeal into the "established" churches. 
I refer to the renaissance of the laity, study groups, discussion 
and missionary outreach. I trust that I am not presumptuous in 
suggesting that almost all that has been discussed under the rubric 
of "renewal" except liturgical renewal, points in the direction of 
the Believers' Church. 4 

The Anglo^Catholic tradition holds that "where the bishop 
is, there let the church appear." The Protestant tradition main- 
tains that "the church is wherever the sacraments are properly 
administered and the Word of God is properly preached." There 
is at least one other stance. The Believers' Church emphasizes 
covenant community and propounds that it is only in such an 
understanding of the church that the historical tendencies 
toward institutionalism and sacramentalism can be overcome. 5 
These dangers are well nigh unavoidable when the essence of 
the church is seen to lie elsewhere than in the relational and 
communal character of "the people of God" (I Peter 2:9), "body 
of Christ" (I Corinthians 12:27), and "the fellowship of the 
Holy Spirit" (II Corinthians 13:14). The Believers' Church 
does not deny the sociological necessity of creating institutions 
for the expression of its common life of service to God nor does 
it reject the celebration of baptism and of the Lord's Supper. 
However, it does insist that its structures be kept subordinate 
to and instruments of the personal quality of its fellowship and 
that its cultic and ceremonial expressions be understood in 
relational rather than sacramental terms. Thus at the heart 
of the Believers' Church commitment is the understanding of 
the church as a covenant community. The purpose of God in 
history is to create a people for himself. These people are in- 
volved in discovering what it means to be the faithful people 
of God. 

The problem in today's church is that a majority of church 
members have no clear understanding of who they are or what 
they are called to be as the people of God. At best their under- 
standing is shallow and superficial to the point of constituting 
a perversion of the gospel. Over the years patterns of ministry 
and church life have been borrowed and baptized because they 
were successful — with little or no regard for theological con- 
sequences. The basic consideration was pragmatic. As a result, 
many Christian groups have lost their identity. Abandoning 
their heritage to become more worldly-wise, many Christian 
groups now face the possibility of extinction because they are 
not distinguishable from other active societal agencies or on a 
dead end street not knowing where they made a wrong turn. 

In the face of all this ferment one can follow the tempta- 
tion to become nostalgic and long for the "good old days." 
Another alternative is to go back to explore and discover one's 
roots — our tradition, our heritage — to inquire what here is of 
continuing significance and what may be modified in the search 
for authentic church life today. 

The latter course, while filled with intellectual toil, avoids 
the temptation of reaching out to the fads of the day. In develop- 
ing historical perspective, one avoids repeating the errors of 
the past. Unless we know from whence we have come and the 
route we have taken it is almost impossible to know where we 
are and to intentionally direct where we are going. 

The above insights were both inspiration for and product 
of the work involved in a doctor of ministry program through 
the Consortium of Higher Education Religion Studies of the 
Ohio Region Seminaries. The context of the program was the 
Jefferson Brethren Church, Goshen, Indiana. Here a body of 
concerned people joined with their pastor who was involved in 
the doctor of ministry program to develop a model of adult edu- 
cation appropriate for a Believers' Church and adequate for 
our times. The nature of what follows is a report of what hap- 
pens when a group of people covenant together to discover who 
they are and attempt to express their heritage in a model for 
the Christian education of adults. 

The process of model building requires the ingenuity and 
energy of a number of persons. Therefore a number of persons 
were enlisted from the leadership of the congregation to pursue 
this project. As it happened the number who covenanted to- 
gether to form the Support Group for this doctor of ministry 
program was ten. The covenant was a significant part of the 
project. Through this instrument we became intentional, defin- 
ing the purpose, describing the structure, delineating the nature 
of our commitment, and listing the disciplines. The contract 
was negotiated including all who would be involved in the study 
of our heritage and the projection of the model. 

Next in line was the preparation of a chronological sequence 
chart depicting the elements and time span of the project. 
Measurable goals are essential when one is interested in deter- 
mining progress. The chronological sequence chart graphically 
portrayed the general goals of the project. 

The regular meetings of the Support Group began with a 
study of our heritage, that of the Believers' Church. A common 
base for the projection of the model was the goal of this phase 
of the study. The book The Believers' Church by Donald Durn- 
baugh provided a resource from which our discussions issued. 

Six months later a "Summary Statement of the Essence of the 
Believers' Church" took shape. The document is the fruit of the 
joint efforts of the Support Group and the Participant. It is 
as follows: 

1. PRIMITIVE: A Spirit-Led Community. 

a. The New Testament and the Early Church have a normative 

b. The church is non-territorial and is called into existence by 
the Holy Spirit. 

c. Authority resides in the Word and is apprehended by the Spirit. 

d. The major Christian creeds are accepted but truth is viewed as 
being greater than the creeds. 

2. VOLUNTARY: A Covenanting Community. 

a. An Uncoerced faith. 

b. Members covenant with God and each other to live faithfully. 

c. Membership is adult. 

3. REGENERATE: A Holy-Living Community. 

a. Baptism is given to all who have learned repentance and amend- 
ment of life. 

b. There is separation of church and state. 

c. Discernment of God's will is the task of the church. 

d. Discipleship means Jesus is Lord. 

e. There is non-conformity to the world. 

f. There is renunciation of force and violence in human relation- 

4. VISIBLE: A Disciplined Community. 

a. Concern is for a pure church. 

b. Membership agrees to give and receive loving counsel. 

c. Discipline is viewed as the loving chastisement of a covenant 

d. There is the conscious creation of a new order in response to 
Jesus Christ. 

e. Worship is informal and spontaneous. 

f. Ordinances are joyful celebrations for believers. 

5. MISSIONARY: A Caring-Sharing Community. 

a. The mark of the Christian is sharing love. 

b. Members accept the servant ministry of Jesus. 

c. Mutual aid is provided for the brother. 

d. Members identify with the poor and the downtrodden. 

e. Benevolent gifts are given to the poor. 

f. Evangelism means calling people to a new life of costly dis- 

g. Ministry belongs to all the members, 
h. There is acceptance of unjust suffering. 

The second stage of the study undertaken by the Support 
Group focused in the area of educational philosophy. We dis- 
covered that adults differ significantly from children. While 
this appears obvious, it hasn't been put into practice in many 
programs of Christian education. The adult is independent while 


the child is dependent. The adult has a vast amount of experience 
which he brings to any situation. The child is deficient at this 
very point. Further, the child spends a great deal of time in 
learning communicative skills. The adult has already accom- 
plished this and wants to move on to learning more related to 
social roles. Learning experiences for the child are largely future 
oriented. He is accumulating material for use in the future. He 
learns what he "ought" as the result of biological development 
and academic pressure. He wants solutions to contemporary 
problems. For these reasons the adult should not be treated as 
a grown-up child. 

The following statements by Paul Bergevin help us to 
appreciate the nature of the adult learner. 

1. Adults come to learning programs with a more definite "set" 
than children; 

2. Adult personality is more permanently fixed for good or ill; 

3. Adults have more emotional connections with words, situa- 
tions, institutions, and people than do children; 

4. Many learners bring negative feelings with them to the learn- 
ing situation because they resent authority: 

5. Adults are more under the burden of certain stereotypes like 
personality and belief than children, who are in a more forma- 
tive stage of development; 

6. Inadequacy and failure is more likely to be in the forefront 
of an adult's mind than of a child's; 

7. The adult may see new learning as more of a threat to the 
balance and integration he has attempted to achieve; 

8. Most adults must rather quickly see more relevance and 
immediacy of application than children do; 

9. A group of, say, fifteen adults will usually have more vari- 
ations in skills, interests, experiences, and education than a 
similar group of children. They might be considered more 
highly differentiated; 

10. Adult attitudes are difficult to change. If learning is not 
shaped to fit a real or symptomatic need, the change often 
will be forgotten or rejected. 6 

The evidence is overwhelming. Treating adults as grown-up 
children will not provide a satisfactory philosophy for educa- 
tion of adults. Adults are different and these differences need 
to be recognized in planning education for adults. 

The emphasis in the past has been on content for learning. 
The focus needs to be people. Who are they ? What are they like ? 
Why are they as they are? What learning procedures would be 
in keeping with their nature? What abilities do they have? What 
needs to be done with these particular people at this time and 

People will not necessarily respond to a learning program 
because it is good for them. To involve adult learners, the pro- 

gram must provide solutions for their particular problems. In 
other words, the program must be indigenous. 

The need is to begin with people and to begin with people 
where they are. An analysis of the present situation in which 
a particular group of adults finds themselves can supply clues 
to their needs and problems. However, when this has been said 
it is not to be assumed that we have said enough. The Christian 
will also need to consider the richness of his heritage in seeking 
to meet needs and to solve problems. Any educational program 
that focuses exclusively on contemporary needs will always be 
less than Christian education. 

Pursuing the principle line of thought above leads to the 
very important idea of developmental tasks set forth by 
Havighurst. This approach is based on the assumption that a 
major purpose of Christian education for adults is to assist per- 
sons to resolve the problems that face them. Adults respond with 
willing participation to an educational program which holds 
out the promise of relevance to their tensions and conflicts en- 
abling them to achieve a philosophy of life that has some pros- 
pect of effectiveness. This is not to be done at the expense of 
theology for it all happens in a distinctly Christian context. 

A person's expectations, whether he be administrator, 
leader, or participant, have much to do with the success of any 
learning situation. This leads to the requirement of dialogue 
between all involved. Reconciliation of expectations does not 
mean that the learner tells others how to teach or what ought 
to be taught. However, it does recognize that the learner may 
have some useful ideas about content and procedure. People 
tend to support what they have opportunity to plan. 

The voluntary aspect of any learning program is also of 
importance. Adults need many opportunities to select content, 
choose leaders, determine time, place and length of meetings 
and procedures. Such action makes the learner feel as though 
he counts for something, that he is important enough to make 
a contribution and to be listened to. When we begin with per- 
sons as our base, it is to be expected that learning will be mare 
personal. The active involvement of learners in planning and 
evaluating the educational experience assists all to share the 
responsibility for the learning experience. We can best become 
responsible for our own learning and the learning of others 
when we actively participate in the process. Closely allied to 
the above is the principle of ego involvement. This principle 
says that learning is an internal process. The learner learns what 
he learns and this is not necessarily the same as what is taught. 
It says that to be effective learning experiences require involve- 


ment. Ego involvement is a precondition for learning and de- 
mands that the locus of responsibility for what happens during 
our time together is the responsibility of the group. 

Another principle is that Christian nurture is related 
inversely to the size of the group. As the group increases beyond 
ten to twelve the effectiveness decreases. Related to this is the 
idea set forth by Reuel Howe and Randolph C. Miller that Chris- 
tian teaching takes place in the quality of relationship which 
the learner experiences. Persons learn most effectively in a 
group that is small enough so that members can get to know 
each other and interact in face-to-face relationships. This size 
group allows for the possibility of participation by everyone. 

From the very beginning it was decided that the class 
structure needed to be small face-to-face groups. This meant 
training teachers to become facilitators. Leadership was to be 
shared but not extinguished. This meant that passive pupils 
needed to become responsible learners, persons who were re- 
sponsible for their own learning and the learning of others. 

Insights from the small group movement would need to be 
shared with class facilitators who replaced teachers. The general 
format for class sessions would follow that proposed by Lyman 
Coleman. Classes would begin with a beverage and cookies. This 
gives people a physical outlet for anxiety and feelings of uncer- 
tainty. This ritual happens naturally as participants gather. 
Then the group proceeds to "warm-up" activities. 

The next step is a natural transference to topic considera- 
tion and then on to task or mission. The duration of any group's 
time together could be sketched as follows: 7 

Beginning ■ 

-p* 13 week 

-±v ending 

The third stage of the study of the Support Group was a 
community survey. The purpose was to determine the thinking 
and needs of our immediate geographical community with re- 
gards to the Christian education of adults. Assistance in formu- 
lating the questionnaire, planning procedures, and interpreting 
results was derived from the book, What My People Think by 
George Gallup and John Davies. 


Now, at last, we were ready to project the model Malcolm 
Knowles has provided as a process. An adaption of his diagram 
is found below: 8 



are screened 
through the 
filters of: 


to procedure 




Purposes — 

Feasibility — 



This is the procedure the Support Group employed to 
construct a model for the adult Christian education of the 
congregation : 

Individual needs of our people were identified. 

Societal needs were determined by the community survey 
reported elsewhere. 

Because we have a Christian commitment, this has impli- 
cations as to content. A study of the redeeming activity of the 
Creator God is imperative. The biblical text and the theologizing 
process are essential considerations. 

Next, the needs were filtered through institutional pur- 
poses; namely, our heritage and destiny. By identifying the 
essence of the Believers' Church and then projecting their 
implications for the Christian education of adults, we arrived 
at the following: 

I. PRIMITIVE : A Spirit-Led Community 

The New Testament and the Early Church have a normative 
significance. The Scriptures are important and need to com- 
prise a significant part of the curriculum. 
The family needs to be reestablished to a key role in education 

of its members. 
Our ecclesiology: 

— the church is a covenant community 

— the purpose of God in history is to create a people for 

— discover what it means to be the faithful people of God. 


II. VOLUNTARY: A Covenanting Community 

Emphasis is upon adult education. 

Education proceeds in the context of community: class leader 
in place of teacher, face-to-face groups in place of classes, 
procedure is discovery and sharing in place of lecture and 
discussion, shared leadership. 

Variety with the possibility of choice is necessary in the cur- 
riculum. (Personal interests and Christian maturity.) 

III. REGENERATE: A Holy Living Community 

Membership preparation needs to be a significant part of the 

There needs to be provision for the discernment of members' 

gifts and development of a ministry expressing these gifts. 
An "equipping ministry" to prepare members for service. 
A section on a distinctively Christian lifestyle needs to be a part 

of the curriculum. 

IV. VISIBLE: A Disciplined Community 

The Ordinances of the church are to be viewed as educational 

Learners must share equal responsibility for learning with 

Learning needs to be intentional — 

Covenant at beginning of course so a person can — 
— evaluate where he is 
— define where he wants to go 
— what he will do. 
Evaluation at conclusion of course. 

V. MISSIONARY: A Caring-Sharing Community 

Development of a caring-sharing attitude in the membership is 

to be considered an educational task. 
Social dimensions of the gospel need emphasis in the curriculum. 
Development of a community that can share their faith. 

Next comes a projection of operational objectives and 
educational objectives. 

Operationally, we were committed to small, face-to-face 
groups. This passed through the filter intact. Class sessions are 
in every way training for life in the congregation. Small groups 
of up to twelve persons meet around tables for thirteen sessions. 

Educationally, the class offerings for any one quarter are 
to be read horizontally (Exhibit I). This means that an adult 
has a possibility of ten courses from which to make his selection. 
(Caution: it must be remembered that the reader is seeing the 
fruition of six years experimentation, study and projection. This 

Vertically, the chart lists areas or categories with a three 
year projection. Thus it is possible for a learner to select a 
category and continue in a concentrated study for a three year 


period. Secondly, from the standpoint of economics, it is possible 
to reuse textbooks on a three year cycle which would not be 
feasible on a longer cycle. 

Categories were determined by employing the mix described 
earlier. A biblical base is required by virtue of the fact that 
Christianity is a revealed religion. This is cared for by offerings 
in Bible General, meaning introduction, survey, and life of 
Christ; Old Testament because it serves as the beginning of 
God's revelation and as a base for the New Testament; New 
Testament because from our heritage comes the motto that "The 
New Testament is our rule for faith and practice." The cate- 
gory Doctrine provides opportunity to theologize. Constantly 
from congregation and community comes the cry for help as 
family; therefore, we have a category, Christian Family. The 
category Church focuses attention on our heritage. If we are 
to continue as a congregation in a responsible way, we must 
know who we are. Our heritage emphasizes the ministry of the 
laity. If the laity is to minister, it must be equipped. This is the 
rationale for the category labeled Ministry. Christian Living 
is a category of offerings that keeps us open to the world, the 
making of ethical decisions and relating to others. 

Other means that we are open to "new light" or new possi- 
bilities in the areas of offerings unknown to us at this point. 

The three year cycle does not lock us in as far as course 
offerings. It is expected that every three years the offerings — 
and to a lesser extent the categories — will be revised. 

Please remember that the process of establishing this 
schedule of offerings is what we want to share. We present the 
schedule so that you will be encouraged to engage in the process. 

Some of the spin off of the experimental phase of the 
project is an extensive bibliography for the courses. Members 
of the Ministry of Christian Education previewed the resources 
listed in the bibliography and have made recommendations with 
regard to their suitability for usage in our situation. Resources 
are qualified by appropriate designations so that the student- 
participants may determine the degree of difficulty and have 
some insight as to the value of the respective works. These 
categories have been established with the laity in mind. They 
have not been arranged for professional clergymen or biblical 
scholars. Bibliography is keyed to the course offerings indicated 
in the "Curriculum for the Adult Elective Series" (Exhibit I). 
[The bibliography, which includes eleven pages of resource ma- 
terial, cannot be presented here. Anyone interested in pursuing 
this aspect of the model may contact Professor Allison at 
Ashland Theological Seminary.] 


Additional facets of our course offerings for the Christian 
education of adults include an instrument for intentionality, 
an adult class covenant and an instrument for evaluation. 

It is not our intent to manage adults in the area of their 
Christian education. We simply want to assist them in making 
appropriate choices. The instrument is designed with the pur- 
pose of enabling a person to identify his growing edge, that area 
where he is both able and willing to learn, and thereby to assist 
the person in making a selection from the course offerings that 
will provide for him a meaningful experience. (Exhibit II). 

The "Adult Class Covenant" is negotiated as a part of the 
first class session. It is designed to accomplish mutuality at the 
points of subject, leadership style, participation and general 
expectations. (Exhibit III) 

The instrument for evaluation is simply that, an evaluation 
of the experience of the participant by the participant. In addi- 
tion, there is the opportunity to offer suggestions for the future 
of the program. The evaluation is of the program and not the 
participant. (Exhibit IV) 

This experience has been invaluable to me personally. 
Through it I have discovered an educational process labeled 
"andragogy." It has tranference value in that it works with 
almost any adult group. It makes learning exciting. At the heart 
of the CHERS program is the concept of self-initiated learning. 
It is revolutionary in that it breaks with the traditional, author- 
itative, transmissional approach. It is exciting because motiva- 
tional factors are built in and the cycle of its process raises the 
next issues to pursue. Also, there was exposure to ideas from 
Paulo Freiere such as "critical consciousness" and "intentional- 
ity." This was all very stimulating. 

Personal contact with peers involved in the program, the 
expertise of core faculty members and advisors and summer 
colloquy have been enriching. Exposure to other traditions 
such as Methodist, Lutheran and Roman Catholic has added 
breadth to my own understanding and has greatly improved 
my appreciation for their perspective. 

Through the program, I have grown in poise and in my 
ability to communicate a position. In my case it was a position 
that was not generally understood. I feel very positive about 
the program. 

Professionally, I have firmed-up my own theology of min- 
istry and this has assisted me in the practical way of equipping 
persons for ministry. I have gained a new appreciation for hard 
data in the decision making process as a replacement for im- 
pressions. In addition, I have developed skills in the formulation 


of instruments for survey and evaluation. I have a new appreci- 
ation for the reflective process in education. I have developed 
skills in bringing change by negotiation and I am now able to 
detach myself somewhat from the success or failure of a 

This project has opened up a new opportunity for me, that 
of teaching Christian education at the seminary level. 

Most important of all is the fact that the project has pro- 
duced a viable model for adult Christian education that is still 
operative two years after my departure from the administration 
of the program. The model was not a narrow structure but a 
process that others have expressed an interest in. This process 
has been shared directly with twenty-five other congregations 
and two seminaries. Indirectly, it has been shared with over 
two hundred persons and/or congregations through a brochure. 
Add to this the fact that a group of people have been equipped 
for carrying on this expanding program and for leadership in 
the congregation and one has the ingredients for an exciting 


1 C. Ellis Nelson, "Is Church Education Something Particular?" 
Religious Education, LXLII, 1972, p. 8. 

2 Lawrence C. Little, ed. The Future Course Of Christian Adult 
Education (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1959), p. 219. 

3 Howard Grimes, The Church Redemptive (Nashville: Abingdon 
Press, 1958), pp. 32-34. 

4 Lawrence Burkholder, "A People in Community: Contemporary 
Relevance," in The Concept of the Believers' Church, ed. by James Leo 
Garrett, Jr. (Scottdale: Herald Press, 1969), p. 180. 

5 Ross Bender, The People of God (Scottdale: Herald Press, 1971), 
p. 141. 

6 Paul Bergevin and John McKinley, Adult Education for the 
Church (St. Louis: Bethany Press, 1971), pp. 5-6. 

7 Lyman Coleman, Rays (Waco: Word, Inc., 1972), pp. 18-19. 

8 Malcolm S. Knowles, The Modern Practice of Adult Education 

(New York: Association Press, 1973), p. 127. 



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This sheet is an instrument designed by the Ministry of Christian Education 
to assist you in selecting a course for the next quarter in our adult elective 
program. In making decisions of this nature, it is helpful to know who we 
are and where we are. This sheet is offered as an opportunity for identifying 
this kind of information. 


Rate your knowledge in the following areas by placing an X on the 
continuum indicating where you are. 

(None) ASP (Very Knowledgeable) 
0123456789 10 

A. Old Testament 

B. New Testament 

C. Church History 

D. Christian Life 

E. Christian Doctrine 

F. Contemporary Situation 
Identify the growing edge of your Christian experience. (Growing edge: 
That place in your life where you are ready and able to learn.) 
What courses have you chosen during the past year from the adult elec- 
tive curriculum? 

What additional experiences have you had in the area of Christian edu- 
cation that have proved to be beneficial personally? 
What course do you plan to register for next quarter? 
How do you anticipate that the course will add to your experience? 
( ) Increased knowledge 
( ) Change of attitude 
( ) Motivation to action 
( ) Development of a skill 


1. What is the subject on which this group will focus? 

2. Why did you select this course? 

3. Who will provide leadership for this group? 

4. What group disciplines have you agreed on? 

a. Attendance 

b. Preparation 

c. Contribution 

d. Other 

5. What do you intend to accomplish from this group experience? 

6. Other decisions agreed on by this group: 




Course Leader 

1. I found the course to be: 
( ) interesting 
( ) helpful 
( ) boring 
( ) difficult 

2. For others, I would recommend that this course: 
( ) be repeated 

( ) be repeated with alterations 
( ) be dropped 

3. In guiding class study, the leader: 
( ) challenged us 

( ) did the best he could 

( ) gave little incentive to learn 

4. In the learning process, I feel that: 
( ) our goals were clearly identifed 

( ) our concern was person centered 

( ) we wasted a lot of time 

( ) there were too many words and little action 

( ) a variety of learning experiences were used 

5. Did you get to know all persons who attended? 
( ) yes ( ) no 

6. Were the facilities adequate? Comment: 
( ) yes ( ) no 

7. How often did you attend the class session this quarter? 
( ) every Sunday 

( ) at least one half the time 

8. How often did you come prepared (assignments completed, lesson 
read, etc.) 

( ) every Sunday 

( ) at least one half the time 

( ) seldom 

9. Please rank the following course areas in the order of importance to you: 
Bible Study 



Practical Christian Living 

10. A course that I would like to see offered is: 

11. What personal goals were realized through your participation in the 

( ) Increased knowledge 
( ) Change of attitude 
( ) Motivation to action 
( ) Development of a skill 

12. Other comments or suggestions: 


The Testing of Simulation /Gaming as a 

Viable Tool in Christian Education 

at the College Level 

Donald R. Rinehart 

THOMAS CARLYLE once wrote, "The man who cannot 
wonder is but a pair of spectacles behind which there are 
no eyes." 

Of course, those involved in study programs or research 
seldom have the problem of wondering, of generating questions, 
or of discovering myriads of unresolved problems. The greater 
problem is learning to discipline ones' self to be able to focus on 
the limited issues. 

Many of us wonder. For myself, within an academic setting 
such as Ashland College, and more specifically within the Reli- 
gion Department of the same, I began to wonder, How does a 
teaching faculty member share the reality of the content of Jew- 
ish/Christian scripture without surreptitiously inserting his own 
doctrine on the students? How do we assist students to know 
God and His love? Do students know this once they are able to 
write out an examination, giving back the information given 
them? Is it possible to know the love (reality) of God until one 
has participated in the love of God? Beyond each of these ques- 
tions is yet a more inclusive question which probably ties them 
all together: How can we most effectively, or at least more 
effectively communicate the content of Old and New Testament 

With these concerns in the background, the focus of my 
study was to test the value of simulation/gaming as a viable 
tool in Christian Education at the college level. I was interested 
in knowing whether involvement-learning, such as simulation/ 
gaming, would motivate the student to: 

1. learn more factual Biblical content? 

2. give a higher affective perceptive rating to Biblical courses, 
as compared to the same courses taught with the lecture/ 
discussion method? 


The context for that study was Ashland College, a four 
year, church related liberal arts institution. In the fall semester, 
1972, the year in which this program was initiated, church pref- 
erence of student enrollment was reported; 

No preference 33.29% 

Catholic 16.69% 

United Methodist 14.96% 

Presbyterian 12.11% 

Lutheran 6.68% 

Brethren 2.40% 

Jewist .42% 

Ashland College, like many church related colleges, has 
retained a religion requirement for graduation. This means that 
the majority of students complete both Old and New Testament 
courses before graduating. With the broad spectrum of religious 
beliefs and non-beliefs, it remains a challenge to effectively teach 
these required Bible courses. 

Teaching any subject is a complicated task, partly because 
as teachers and students we are each a product of our past, and 
partly because it is as crucial to know ourselves as it is to mas- 
ter the content of a given subject. We can not fully understand 
who we are at a given moment apart from seeing how we have 
come to be up to that present time. Because we are not creatures 
of a moment, and because we have not arrived into being instant- 
ly out of nothing, we then bring our past experiences, values, 
goals and hopes with us into every learning situation. 

Ross Snyder has said, 

Man lives out of a future that is connected with a particular past 
and is present right here and now. The past is resource, evidence 
of ourselves as an identity, background out of which we can 
emerge. The present — the lived moment — is the reality, but our 
energies are called forth by the becoming future whose pulse we 
feel in the present. (Ross Snyder, Young People and Their Culture, 
p. 28) 

Teaching at any grade level is rewarding, but it is especially 
exciting to be teaching at the college level. College students are 
still connected to a past and are in the midst of sorting through 
their resources, facing the new reality of life apart from parents 
and entering into the struggles and opportunities of the future. 
At this point in life, it is no longer practical for them just to 
read about the past and be comfortable because somebody then 
said, "yes" to the becoming of their time. Many students find 
that they can't live off their parents' "yes" to God. As Snyder 

We can live only in the immediacies of the kingdom of God in 
each moment of our life. Each lived moment brings a fresh con- 


sciousness of time's fullness. And our "yes" will be made because 
we are able to recognize the presence of the kingdom of God in 
the situation before us. (Ibid.) 

And so the speculation and wondering goes on: Are the 
best teaching methods being used? How can each student be 
met at his/her immediate level of learning? Are there means 
and methods of moving students beyond present attitudes 
toward learning? Why? How? When? Is there a better or more 
effective means of presenting Biblical truths? 

With all of those questions of the present moment sensi- 
tizing my mind, I was then beginning to wonder if a limited 
number of simulation/games would create any significant dif- 
ference in the student's cognitive knowledge and their affective 
perception in the Bible classes. 

The primary purpose of my Doctor of Ministry program 
was eventually brought into focus. I would attempt to examine 
available simulation/games to determine the usability of games 
within the context of Bible Survey courses at the college level. 
More specifically, and perhaps more technically, this study was 
to determine, in a field testing environment consisting of six 
New Testament Bible Survey classes, three control and three 
experimental, using three to five hours of treatment, what effect 
the use of simulation/games has on the student's cognitive re- 
tention of facts, concepts, and principles. 

The second purpose of the study was to determine what 
effect simulation/gaming has on students' affective perceptions 
of the learning process in which they are involved. 

The third purpose of the study was to determine what 
effect simulation/gaming has on student evaluation both of the 
course and the instructor where games have been used as com- 
pared with similar classes not using games, as measured by a 
standardized student evaluation instrument? 

Description of the Process to Achieve Program Goals 
My interest in gaming preceeded the Doctor of Ministry 
program by seven or eight years. During that time, I had ex- 
perimented with numerous games and had adapted several of 
them for specific learning situations, but I came away from 
those learning experiences with little, if any concrete evidence 
of their value in learning. These games were first used in 
a parish setting ; when I moved from a pastoral ministry to the 
college campus, I continued to experiment with them. One of 
the games that I began to use on a regular basis in my 
New Testament classes seemed to have high student appeal, and 
at the same time it helped move the students to a deeper level 
of understanding of the Biblical concepts of trust and covenant. 


As I entered into the Doctor of Ministry program in the 
Fall of 1972, I knew I would focus my program on my context 
of ministry, Ashland College. I also knew that I would do some- 
thing related to my course work, but initially the greatest con- 
cern seemed to be Youth Ministry. Eventually the Bible classes 
and the possible limited use of games in the same seemed to be 
both interesting and practical, in terms of future ministry. After 
several critiquing sessions with the Cleveland Regional Peer 
Group, gaming seemed to be the inevitable choice. 

After enlisting both a Core Faculty and a Support Group, 
I began the long, arduous task of writing an acceptable proposal. 
During the proposal building stage, there were opportunities 
to attend several simulation gaming workshops and seminars, 
which proved helpful in several ways: 

1. I was able to participate in a variety of games. 

2. These facilitated the gathering of information on games either 
played or discussed. 

3. It provided a better understanding of the role of the game 

Perhaps the most difficult part of the program was 
attempting to convince the Support Group of the value of gam- 
ing. By design, the participant in the Doctor of Ministry pro- 
gram must enlist a Support Group and, by the completion of 
the program, it is expected that they will be equipped in some 
significant way for ministry. In my case, the Support Group 
consisted of five persons, plus myself. Two of the men were fel- 
low members of the Religion Department at Ashland College. 
Another member was a recent graduate of Ashland Theological 
Seminary who had been hired as campus minister at the college. 
The remaining two members were students at Ashland College. 
Only the campus minister had any previous experience with 
games. According to the time line established, my immediate 
task was that of equipping the Support Group so that they could 
facilitate games. This was accomplished through an experimen- 
tal simulation/gaming course that had been designed and offered 
during the Fall semester, 1973. Support Group members par- 
ticipated in a number of games and also facilitated several 
games. During the second semester the Support Group members 
moved in different directions to pursue their own interests in 
gaming. The two faculty members joined me in testing the effec- 
tiveness of games used in New Testament Bible classes. The 
campus minister conducted a number of retreats each time using 
several games. The students continued their study of gaming, 
one of the students working through an independent study course 
in the area of game design. 


Near the end of the first semester, '73, Support Group 
members worked very diligently attempting to locate three or 
four games that would be acceptable to each of the three faculty 
members. Though the games were to be used only in New Test- 
ament classes, we found that each of us had differences of views 
and interests to contend with and that now it was necessary 
to enter into some theological dialogue in order to come to some 
agreement. This proved to be a very rewarding part of the pro- 
gram because it provided each of us the opportunity to rethink 
and reaffirm our course objectives. 

Testing, of course has its price. I was willing to pay the 
price because it was my program, but there were times when 
I found it necessary to remind the other men that I needed their 
cooperation, knowing full well that it was taking some freedom 
with their normal teaching styles as well as interrupting their 
teaching schedules with additional tests. 

Finally, during Spring semester, 1974, six New Testament 
classes were selected and randomly designated as either a control 
group or an experimental group. Each of the three faculty mem- 
bers had one control group and one experimental group. Pre- 
testing showed that there was no significant difference between 
the control groups and the experimental groups in terms of their 
cognitive knowledge of the New Testament. During the course 
of the semester, then, each of the three faculty members intro- 
duced the same three games into the experimental classes, using 
about four hours of treatment. The control classes covered the 
same material, but only lecture/discussion methods were em- 
ployed in those classes. At the end of the semester three evalua- 
tive instruments were administered. A post-test cognitive 
instrument was given, which was the same test given at the 
beginning of the semester. An affective perception instrument 
was administered as well as a standardized student evaluation 

Testing Results 

The results of the testing phase of the program were 
interesting. It was during this time that I kept flirting with the 
question, "Has the program produced positive results for all 
concerned?" My journal, a requirement for each of the partici- 
pants, reveals that at the time I completed the testing phase of 
the program, I didn't care, because I was so relieved to have 
completed that part of the program. But as I began to reflect 
on the question, I concluded there were many good results from 
this program. 

The value of this program extends far beyond the testing 
of simulation games in the college Bible classes. It was inter- 


esting to attempt to integrate theology with other disciplines, 
such as education and learning theories and educational research. 
The ecumenical involvement of Core Faculty, Support Group, 
Regional Peer Group, School of Participants and Coordinating 
Committee, along with the community interaction of each of 
these components helped significantly to bring pertinent issues 
into focus. 

Another result was that after completing the experimental 
course in simulation/gaming and evaluating the course, I 
decided not to teach the same course again, but rather to redesign 
it and give it a broader base so as to include other areas of in- 
volvement learning. The result was that a new course has been 
approved by the curriculum committee which includes human 
relation exercises, simulation games and an introduction to small 
group process. 

Of course, the results of testing were of great interest to 
me. The first purpose of this study was to determine what effect 
the use of simulation/games in the college New Testament Bible 
Survey classes had en the students' cognitive retention of facts, 
concepts and principles. The hypothesis, stated in null form, 
was designed to test for significance of difference between the 
control and experimental classes on a measure of cognitive 
achievement. Statistical analysis of the data for the purpose of 
testing the hypothesis was computed through the use of a T-test. 
This procedural computation reported the mean scores, Stand- 
ard Deviation, Standard Error of Measure, and a Reliability 
of Co-efficient of test/retest. 

The null form of the hypothesis is stated below. 

1. At the conclusion of one semester of study, using three 
to five hours of gaming, there will be no significant difference 
between the control groups (lecture-discussion format) and the 
experimental groups (combination simulation/gaming and lec- 
ture-discussion format) on a measure of cognitive achievement. 

A report of the findings on the cognitive measure follows. 






























r .70 
PL .01 


A total of 138 students (N) completed both the pre-test 
and the post-test. On the fifty item test, called the Ashland Col- 
lege Bible Knowledge Test, the mean (M) score for all students 
on the pre-test was 19.275. The post-test mean score for all 
students was 28.48. 

By comparison, students in the experimental classes had 
a mean score of 19.19 on the pre-test, while students in the con- 
trol classes had a mean score of 19.35. The adjusted mean score 
of the two groups was not statistically significant. 

At the end of the semester, students in the experimental 
classes had a mean score of 28.34 on the post-test, while students 
in the control classes had a mean score of 28.63. The difference 
between the adjusted mean scores of the control group and ex- 
perimental group on the post-test measure was not statistically 

The results of the tests indicate that the use of the games 
in the Bible classes made little, if any difference in terms of 
retention of factual material taught in the classes. The use of 
different games, or the use of different tests, or both, could 
produce different results. The limited use of games, in this par- 
ticular case, however, yielded no evidence to support the value 
of games to more effectively teach factual material. 

The second purpose of the study was to determine what 
effect the use of simulation/games had on students' affective 
perceptions of the learning process in which they were involved. 
In order to examine this effect, a hypothesis was designed in 
the null form. Analysis of the data for this purpose was done 
through the use of frequency and percentage computation. 

The null form of the hypothesis is stated below. 

2. At the conclusion of one semester of study, using three 
to five hours of gaming, there will be no marked difference 
between experimental and control groups on a measure of 
affective perception. 

Combined responses for the control groups and combined 
responses for the experimental groups revealed only slight 
trends favoring the experimental groups. However, when re- 
sponses were tabulated for each individual instructor, there 
was not a oonsistant pattern favoring the experimental group. 
What became apparent was that students responded very 
favorably to the use of games by the one faculty member who 
tends to lecture rather than normally encouraging much student 
dialogue. In the two other classes, where students were encour- 
aged to interact with each other and the professor, there were 
fewer trends favoring the experimental groups. This may indi- 


cate that the specific method of instruction is not as important 
as some kind of balance between lecture and other methods of 
instruction that will permit student interaction. Indeed, teacher 
expectations and/or student perception may be more important 
than the method of instruction. At any rate, a summation of 
responses for the twenty item Student Affective Perception 
Instrument follows: 

1. Students in the experimental groups did not volunteer 
answers to teacher questions on material being presented any 
more than students in the control groups. 

2. Students in the experimental groups spent less time 
preparing for the New Testament classes than did the students 
in the control groups. 

3. Students in both groups equally disagreed with the 
statement, "The teaching method used in this class has caused 
a decrease in my interest level toward religion." 

4. In response to the question, "How well do you like this 
New Testament class?" each of the experimental classes had 
a higher percentage of students who selected, "I like it very 
much" or, "I like it," as compared with the control classes. The 
instructor who normally tends to lecture, had a significant 
difference favoring the experimental group. 

5. "Of the several methods used, the lecture method of 
teaching was the most beneficial to learning." Seventy-one point 
nine percent of the control group said, "I strongly agree," or 
"I agree," while 73.1% of the experimental group made the same 

6. There was no difference in the use of the library as a 
result of using the games. 

7. "My interest in religion has decreased as a result of 
taking this class." Eighty-seven point eight percent of the con- 
trol group said they disagreed or strongly disagreed with the 
statement while 93.3% of the experimental group said they 

8. Fifty-two point four percent of the control group be- 
lieved the lecture method to be most beneficial to the learning 
process, while 53.9% of the experimental group selected lecture. 
Twenty point two percent of the experimental group selected 
simulation/games as most beneficial. 

9. When students were asked if they could learn useful 
knowledge from fellow students, 68.3% of the control group 
said, yes, while 77.6% of the experimental gave a positive 


10. Students in the control group said they tended to read 
outside materials related to class topics more so than students 
in the experimental group. 

11. "As a result of having taken this class, my personal 
attitude toward people is now less open to people with different 
values." Those who said, "I disagree," or, "I strongly disagree," 
included 57.3% of the control group and 62.9% of the expri- 
mental group. 

12. "My ability to reach an understanding of religious 
issues in group situations with my peers has:" either, "Increased 
markedly," or, "Somewhat increased," according to 70.7% of 
the control group and 83.1% of the experimental group. 

13. Increased active participation in this class was marked 
by 36.6% of the control group and 33.7% of the experimental 

14. Fifty-four percent of both groups said they agreed 
that this class has been a strong influence in helping me to be 
concerned about other people. 

15. Sixty-five point eight percent of the control group 
said they believed religion to be a very important part of their 
life at this point in their life, while 56.2% of the experimental 
group made the same response. 

16. A marked difference existed in favor of the control 
group in response to the following statement, "In general, stu- 
dents in this class do not volunteer answers to teacher questions 
on material being presented." 

17. "How would you describe your attitude toward religion 
at the beginning of the semester?" Fifty-three point six percent 
of the control group said positive or very positive, while 55.0% 
of the experimental group said the same. Those indicating neg- 
ative or very negative included 9.8% of the control group and 
14.6% of the experimental group. 

18. Sixty-five point eight percent of the control group 
said that having nearly completed this course they would 
recommend a similar course to a friend, while 64.2% of the 
experimental group said the same. 

19. When asked if the content of the New Testament is 
more important to themselves than how the content is presented, 
40.2% of the control group said yes, and 35.9% of the experi- 
mental group said yes. 

20. "If you were permitted the opportunity to select the 
method of teaching to be used most often in this course, which 
of the following would it be?" Thirty-nine percent of the control 
group selected lecture, while 38.2% of the experimental group 


selected lecture. The experimental group also had 14.6% that 
selected simulation/games. 

For the most part, according to the above responses, stu- 
dents did not believe that the limited use of games made a greater 
contribution to the learning process when compared with the 
responses of the control group. 

The third purpose of the study was to determine what effect 
simulation/gaming has on student evaluation of both the course 
and the instructor where games have been used as compared 
with similar classes not using games as measured by a stand- 
ardized student evaluation instrument. In order to examine this 
effect, a hypothesis was designed in the null form. Analysis of 
the data for this purpose was done through the use of percentage 

The null form of the hypothesis is stated below. 

3. At the conclusion of one semester of study, using three 
to five hours of gaming, there will be no significant difference 
between the control groups and the experimental groups on a 
measure of student evaluation of both the course and the 

Because of the large number of items (48) included in the 
Course and Instructor Evaluation Instrument, I have elected 
to mention in detail only those items that have a trend difference 
of .05 or greater, or a marked difference of .10 or greater. It 
should be noted that this evaluation form was used to evaluate 
every course and instructor at Ashland College during the 
Spring semester, 1974, the semester during which this study 
was being conducted. 

The results of the Course and Instructor Evaluation Instru- 
ment follow. 

1. "The objectives of this course were not clear." (5.5% 
4- E) Five point five percent more of the experimental group 
disagreed, as compared with the control group. 

2. "The course held my interest." (1.5% + E) 

3. "Not much was gained by taking this course." (2.2% 
+ E) 

4. "The text used in this course was helpful." (6.5% + 
E) Eighty-six point seven percent of the control group said 
they agreed, while 93.2% of the experimental group agreed. 

5. "Assigned readings (other than text) were helpful." 
(20.4% + E) Each of the three instructors had a marked 
difference favoring the experimental group. Instructor (A) 
had a marked difference of 21.9%. Instructor (B) had a marked 
difference of 14.2%, and Instructor (C) had a marked differ- 


ence of 25.0%. While students had limited reading assignments, 
other than the text, they were required to research the various 
religious groups represented at Jesus' trial. The use of that in- 
formation in the simulation (What Shall We Do With Jesus?) 
may be what is being reflected, as compared with the discussion 
of the same material in the control groups. 

6. "I did not understand this course." (3.2% + E) 

7. "I would recommend this course to others." (2.6% 
+ E) 

8. "The course material seemed worthwhile." (9.8% -f- 
E) Instructor (A) reported a 13.9% marked difference in 
favor of the experimental group, while instructor (B) had a 
11.8% marked difference. 

9. "This was the best course I have ever taken." (3.6% 
+ E) 

10. "The instructional material was easy to follow." 
(3.6% + E) 

11. "The course demanded too much outside reading." 
(2.3% + C) 

12. "The pace of the course was too fast." (1.5% -f~ E) 

13. "This course had excellent content." (10.5% + E) 
Instructor (A), who tends not to encourage much student dia- 
logue in his classes, reported a 19.9% marked difference, with 
a percentile spread of 70.6% to 90.5% in favor of the experi- 
mental group. Instructor (B) reported a percentile spread of 
77.8% to 82.3%, while Instructor (C) had a non-marked dif- 
ference from 89.3% to 96.4%. Each favored the experimental 

14. "The content of the course was too elementary for 
me." (No difference) Ninty-four point three percent of the 
control group disagreed with this statement, while 94.1% of 
the experimental group made the same response. 

15. "This course was a very valuable one for me." (No 

16. "This course was a complete waste of my time." 
(4.7% + E) Instructor (A) reported a marked difference 
of 14.1%, with a difference spread of 76.4% of the control 
group disagreeing and 90.5% of the experimental group dis- 
agreeing. Instructors (B) and (C) had no difference. 

17. "Over-all the course was good." (1.9% + C) 

18. "Information obtained before enrolling in this course 
was consistent with course content." (1.2% -f E) 


19. "Other courses in this general area of study would 
be of interest to me." (2.8% + E) 

20. "This course was inconsistent with my overall college 
objectives." (3.0% + C) 

21. "The instructor stimulated my curiosity about this 
subject." (No difference) 

22. "The instructor encouraged alternative views." (3.3% 
+ C) 

23. "The instructor was receptive to the expression of 
student views." (1.3% + E) 

24. "Classroom sessions were worthwhile." (No differ- 

25. "My course responsibilities were clearly defined." 
(2.0% + E) 

26. "Help from the instructor outside of class was good." 
(11.0% + E) Again Instructor (A), who tends not to encour- 
age much student dialogue, showed a strong marked difference 
of 16.2% in favor of the experimental group. It is difficult to 
know whether indeed there was more help given, or whether 
students simply perceived the instructors as being more open 
to helping. 

27. "Too much work was assigned outside of class." 
(2.1% + C) 

28. "Teaching appeared to be a chore or routine activity 
to the instructor." (3.0% + E) 

29. "This course was poorly organized." (1.3% -J- E) 

30. "The instructor held the interest of the class." (2.6% 
+ E) 

31. "I think the course was taught poorly." (3.3% -f E) 

32. "I liked this method of instruction." (No difference) 

33. "Ideas and concepts were developed too vaguely." 
(No difference) 

34. "Another method of instruction would have been more 
helpful." (6.6% -f- E) Control and experimental groups for 
both instructors (B) and (C) gave identical responses. Instruc- 
tor (A) reported a marked difference of 19.9% favoring the 
experimental group. Seventy point six percent of the control 
group said they disagreed, while 90.6% of the experimental 
group disagreed. 

35. "I would take another course that was taught in this 
manner." (0.9% + E) 

36. "The teaching methods used were not appropriate 
for this course." (3.5% -f- E) Again Instructor (A) had 


a marked difference of 12.8% favoring the experimental group. 
The range of those who disagreed with the statement included 
82.4% for the control group and 95.2% for the experimental 

37. "The instructor seemed to be interested in students 
as persons." (3.8% + E) 

38. "The instructor knew the subject, but could not com- 
municate it to the students." (4.0% + E) 

39. "The instructor failed to synthesize, integrate, or 
summarize effectively." (0.6% -f- C) 

40. "The instructor discouraged the development of new 
viewpoints and appreciations." (No difference) 

41. "Student participation was lacking in this course." 
(3.5% + C) 

42. "The instructor possessed a thorough knowledge of 
his subject." (1.2% + E) It is interesting to note that the 
combined "agree" response for the experimental group was 
100%. Control group response ranged from 88.3% for Instruc- 
tor (A), to 96.3% for Instructor (B) and 100% for Instructor 

43. "The procedure for grade assignments was fair." 
(4.9% + E) 

44. "The examinations were fair appraisals of the course 
content." (No difference) 

45. "Too much emphasis was placed upon the final 
examination." (5.6% + E) 

46. "The examinations were too long for the time allotted." 
(3.5% + C) 

47. "The examinations were too difficult." (2.2% + C) 

48. "The examinations were unfair." (4.3% + C) 
While many inferences may be drawn from the above 

statistics, it appears that the simulation/games may have in- 
fluenced the experimental group to make a more positive 
response on a majority of the items. At any rate, students 
appeared to be very supportive of the involvement learning 
method of instruction. This seems to be especially true for 
Instructor (A). 

Testing, however, has not produced conclusive evidence 
to prove that simulation/gaming is any more effective as an 
instructional method than other methods of teaching. Of course, 
the reverse of that can also be stated; that is, gaming has not 
been proven to be any less effective, when compared with other 
methods of teaching. 


Games Used in the Testing Phase of the Program 

Three games were used. They are: 

1) "Red-Black" — This is an adapted form of "Win as 
Much as You Can." Each of the instructors used this game while 
teaching the Gospels. The two basic concepts that this game 
deals with are trust and covenant. 

2) "The Gospel Game" — This game was designed by the 
three instructors to be used as a review of the Gospels. 

3) "What Shall We Do With Jesus?"— This simulation 
dealt with the trial of Jesus and gave the students an under- 
standing of the various Jewish religious groups and their pos- 
sible roles in his trial and death. 

Satisfaction in the Program Attainment 

This study was undertaken because of a growing personal 
interest in simulation/gaming, plus a growing awareness of 
the lack of "hard evidence" as to the effectiveness of games as 
a teaching method. 

Various disciplines have espoused the place and importance 
of play and games for an understanding of the individual and 
culture in general. Psychologists, educators, philosophers, and 
now in the 70's, theologians have speculated as to the importance 
and merits of play and games. David Miller's book, Gods & 
Games, has an excellent chapter devoted to identifying the con- 
tributions of the various disciplines to the study of play. 

Prior to the mid-sixties, the efforts of the serious students 
of simulation/games were directed toward game design and 
development with little concern for evaluation by means of re- 
search or testing. Since the mid-sixties, conflicting findings 
have been reported. Some researchers have given "glowing" 
reports, producing statistical data which claim that games 
motivate students to achieve both cognitive and affective 
educational objectives better than with other teaching methods. 
Others have researched the same games and have found that 
factual material is not mastered more effectively; but, in fact, 
the students gain an understanding of a process. Still others 
reported that the significant differences were recorded in stu- 
dent attitudes with no marked difference in cognitive learning. 

Perhaps the most exciting and rewarding aspect of this 
program was not what I discovered about gaming, but rather 
what I discovered and confirmed about myself, the teacher; 
namely, that the Christian teacher can not be someone standing 
on the outside feeding in answers. He must be on the inside, 


actively reflecting with his students, actively searching, actively 
anxious to become Christian. The Christian teacher is the 
medium in teaching, not by the Christian things he says, but 
by the Christian that he is. He must teach from the valid Chris- 
tian experience which is his. 

And so I continue to wonder. Now that the program is com- 
pleted, I am wondering what kind of expectations did we, as 
instructors, have for our students? I am wondering, in the near 
future will there be a wider variety of games designed for 
Christian education purposes? I am wondering, will I continue 
to understand that education and ministry are not projects to 
be completed, but processes to be lived? 

You know, it's fun to wonder! 


A Christian Education Program Designed 

for the Patients at the Cleveland 

Psychiatric Institute 

Charles G. Ronkos 

Backgrounds: Context and Focus 

A MENTAL hospital is a unique setting in which to minister : 
the level of need is more apparent than in some situations 
and the challenge to the chaplain/minister is quite sharply 
defined. As a chaplain in such a setting the problem of religious 
belief in relation to the development of psychiatric illness has 
been a major concern of mine for a number of years with refer- 
ence to my functions as a hospital chaplain at the Cleveland 
Psychiatric Institute. The question of whether there is a direct 
or indirect relationship between a person's religious belief and 
the development of psychiatric illness led me into an empirical 
study of patients admitted to C. P. I. showing religious delusions 
and symptoms. This work was completed in the process of the 
Master of Divinity degree with a major in Pastoral Psychology 
and Counseling through Ashland Theological Seminary. 

The findings from that study led to further interest 
relative to ministry to psychiatric hospital residents. The pres- 
ent study was undertaken that I might gain further insight into 
the patient's world as he sees it. The research sought to draw 
on the patient's Biblical and theological concepts. A primary 
goal was to help me become a more effective minister to people 
in hospital context. 

As a minister of the Gospel who is a chaplain in a mental 
hospital, one of my basic functions is to preach and teach the 
Word of God in the context of the hospital setting to patients 
who are mentally disturbed. In order to fulfill this function to 
the best of my abilities I have to be aware of where the patients 
are in their religious growth. I hoped to derive this awareness 
from the research data obtained through direct contact with 
patients as they were admitted to the hospital for treatment. 
With this basic theological information in hand I felt that 
I could then proceed to design a Christian education program 


based upon theological concepts that were lacking in the 
religious growth of the patients. Any such program would have 
to be tailor-made to meet the personal religious needs of the 
patient in order to help him/her grow in their theological 
perspectives and horizons. Further, I thought that these insights 
would assist me in my preaching ministry as I prepare my 
weekly sermons for the patients in the weekly worship services. 
I could hereby zero in on basic religious needs of patients. 

My program, as I conceived it and in keeping with the 
objectives of the CHERS D. Min. program, would not be 
limited to enhancing only my own self-understanding and 
ministry; it would also have potential for enabling others to 
serve more effectively in the mental hospital setting. Hopefully, 
the program would help me to expand my present ministry to 
include the laity in a meaningful teaching ministry in the 
hospital setting by involving them directly with patients. Fur- 
ther, it was hoped that better communications could be developed 
with the local clergy with regard to their members who are 
hospitalized, so that they might gain fuller insight into the 
progress of their hospitalized members from both theological 
and psychological points of view. 

Even at the beginning of the program I had to accept the 
fact that there are patients for whom religious education can- 
not be helpful since their basic problem is psychological ; in fact, 
it could be that religion is a part of the patient's mental illness. 
What some patients do with their religious beliefs is very much 
the same as what they do with other areas of belief. An example 
may be helpful : A paranoid patient may completely distort 
the social reality in which he lives and as a result of this same 
thought process his religious beliefs are similarly distorted. A 
minister cannot change the paranoid patient's thinking by 
telling him that his beliefs are wrong or that things are not 
as he sees them. In the same vein religious convictions cannot 
be changed by simply telling them that they are incorrect. 

Program Design and Development 

Accepting the possible limitations of such a program, the 
potential for personal growth and contribution to ministry in 
a program of Christian education in a mental hospital continued 
to offer promise. The program seemed naturally to be divided 
into two phases. Phase I dealt primarily with equipping the 
participant himself and with research preliminary to the 
formulation of the Christian education program. Phase II dealt 
with setting up the Christian education program itself. 


Study and reflection to this point had led to the following 
hypothesis : 

Patients in a psychiatric hospital setting view religion 
from two primary perspectives: (1) One way of viewing 
religion is from a moral-ethical perspective. Herein religion is 
as a set of guidelines or a set of rules by which a person lives 
his daily life. Such a person would interpret religion as based 
upon broad religious concepts that provide the foundation for 
an individual's life style. The guidelines or set of rules provide 
the overall framework of one's life goals and objectives. This 
person operates within this general framework and is not bound 
to adhere to a group of rigid and strict religious rules. 
(2) Another way of viewing religion would be from a ritualistic 
perspective. Herein religion would be based on a rigid interpre- 
tation of the idea of God. This person would tend to look 
at everything as either right or wrong. God is viewed as the 
controlling influence of one's life. Religion is used in a ritual- 
istic way. If the subject rigidly complies with the various 
ritualistic requirements God will take complete care of him. 
Religion here is used as a defense mechanism in order to relieve 
anxieties resulting from guilt feelings brought about by com- 
mitting various sins against God. 

With this hypothesis set forth work in Phase I was under- 
taken. This began with a literature search to determine what 
materials had already been written on this particular subject 
so as to glean ideas and principles applicable to the work 
undertaken. Along with this, approaching the research task to 
be done, it was necessary for me to do work research technique 
relative to my project. This was largely in concern for construc- 
tion of a questionnaire and the design of a rating scale by which 
a religious evaluation of patients entering the hospital could 
be conducted. In due time, after considerable research and many 
conferences with Core Faculty members, a Religious Information 
Questionnaire was developed. This included three sections: 
( 1 ) Personal data necessary to identify variables in the answers 
of the person along with items supplying the religious history of 
the patient and his family. (2) Items that are aimed at deter- 
mining the attitudes of the patient toward religion — God, man, 
sin, the church, etc. (3) Items testing the Biblical knowledge 
of the person. 

The questionnaire was administered to two hundred pa- 
tients. A control group of forty-six church members also 
participated in the testing. The second section of the test was 
particularly significant for the study and carried heavy signific- 
ance for the hypothesis. After reviewing the results it was found 


that fifteen items (of 50) showed responses which significantly 
differed for the control and the patient group. Since the second 
section contained fifty items, and since nearly one-third of those 
item responses differentiated the two groups, the major hypo- 
thesis of this investigation was verified. Specifically, this 
hypothesis states that psychiatric patients will view religion 
as a set of rigid, ritualistic rules which must be followed 
strictly and concretely; whereas, a normal, non-psychiatric 
group of people will view religion as a set of flexible moral- 
ethical guidelines which can be adhered to in a more realistic 
manner than rigidly — even if Biblically — defined rules. Each of 
the significant item responses which differed corroborated the 
hypothesis since the patient group responded in the manner 
predicted by the hypothesis; i.e., according to a rigidly defined 
religio-moral control system. Examination of the several sig- 
nificant items in the questionnaire provided even more telling 
evidence of the differing moral-ethical constraints of the 
two groups. 

In general these significant item response results verify 
the hypothesis explicit and implicit in this study; namely, that 
many more mental patients than normal people see religious 
guidance and religion itself in the form of "Biblically" given 
concrete rules of right and wrong. It is the normal people who 
see religion as providing a religious foundation to life — broad 
religious ideas with which to guide one's life and abstractly 
defined guidelines for daily living. While religious training and 
religious preferences may in some measure account for response 
differences on the significant items, other important deter- 
mining factors should be mentioned. People with mental dis- 
orders by definition are insecure and thereby need and seek 
security; are fearful, and therefore need and seek a life without 
fear; are indefinite and indecisive, and therefore seek the 
definite and decisive answers found in the concrete absolutes 
seen in their questionnaire responses. It is seen that inner need 
states based in mental disorder can affect the pattern of religious 
belief which carries an implication that if the mental disorder 
is removed the religious beliefs of the patient may become more 
flexible and realistic. 

Another need can be the need for punishment consequent 
from feelings of guilt which can result in the patient's desire 
for a punitive and demanding set of religious rules. Socially 
based needs such as those derived from loneliness can also 
influence the responses of the mental patient so that "concret- 
istic" religion is needed to provide personal and social supports 
to one's daily existence. 


With the evidence of the first phase of the program in hand 
I was ready to move into the second phase ; namely, the develop- 
ment of a Christian education program for the hospital patients 
based on the data obtained through the research completed. The 
overall educational objective in view arose from the findings 
of the study already described. As declared in the following 
statement: To assist the residents of the Cleveland Psychiatric 
Institute to become aware of God as revealed in Jesus Christ 
and/or to grow toward Christian maturity. It was recognized 
that the client group are composed of individuals with a great 
variety of religious experiences among them and that they would 
be at various levels of the commonly accepted objectives in 
Christian education (as outlined by Paul Vieth, for example). 
These commonly accepted objectives are considered to include: 
(1) God relationship ; (2) The Saviorhood of Christ ; (3) Christ- 
like character; (4) Human relationships; (5) A Christian 
philosophy of life; (6) Supportive relationship with other 
Christians; (7) Christian life style. 

Basic principles of the Christian education program were 
worked out in keeping with the educational objectives as noted. 
These focused primarily on persons as follows : ( 1 ) To provide 
an opportunity for patients at Cleveland Psychiatric Institute 
to become participants and learners in a class using various 
methods of teaching and learning which would be meaningful 
to the students over a two month period. (2) The class would 
be composed of selected patients who, under the direction of 
the teacher, would enter into discussion on an adult level. 
(3) The religious comprehension and personal application would 
be evaluated at the beginning and conclusion of the class 
sessions. (4.) The concept of the Theology of Hope would 
be introduced, at least in part. Out of these objectives and basic 
principles a series of eight lessons was developed for use with 
the patients. The lessons included the following: I. Introduc- 
tion to Religious Study. II. God, the Father. III. God, the 
Son. IV. God, the Holy Spirit. V. Creation and Man. VI. The 
Sermon on the Mount. VII. Prayer. VIII. Christian Life 

The development of the Christian education design was 
done in conjunction with a support group of four public 
school teachers and volunteers from the community who had 
agreed to be involved in the program from the formative stages 
on through the teaching and evaluation stages. The teacher- 
volunteers participated in a training period to become acquainted 
with the study materials and the situation in which they would 


be working. They then conducted weekly classes utilizing the 
Christian education materials prepared for this context. The 
teacher-volunteers assessed their students as to their views 
toward various theological beliefs at the beginning of their 
teaching program through the use of appropriate testing 
procedures. They then were involved with the patient-students 
in the teaching-learning situation for eight weeks. At the end 
of that period they retested the students, using the same testing 
procedure, to determine whether there was a significant change 
that took place in the students involved in the course. 

The evaluation of the Christian education program by the 
various participants and observers was generally positive. 
Participation was active; however, a problem was encountered 
in that a number of patients were dismissed from the hospital 
during the process of the study so that results were difficult 
to ascertain. That participants who continued thorughout the 
course increased in religious knowledge was established. There 
was some evidence of movement toward more wholesome 
religious attitudes. The response of the teachers themselves to 
the effectiveness of the program may be determined in that they 
continued on in an ongoing phase of the Christian education 
program at C. P. I. They indicated that they felt they had grown 
personally through their participation in the program, and so 
they were willing to continue in this work. A further testimony 
to the effectiveness of the program is its continuation as an 
ongoing feature approved and funded by the superintendent 
of the hospital as of July 1, 1973. 

A case study of one participant in the Christian education 
program may be helpful by way of evaluation. This reflects the 
results from "before and after" studies relative to the Christian 
education program. This person had a strong maternal religious 
background with presently weak religious activity with no 
church affiliation indicated. The patient is remarkable for lack 
of change in response to Part II — attitudes toward religion. 
Responses here were few; however, the few items en which 
there was evident change seem to point in the direction of 
realism. Items dealing with God's help in the crises of sickness 
and death reflected a more positive response. The patient 
has a personalistic view, though not an unrealistic one, which 
tends to corroborate the fact that a healthier religious change 
is taking place. As to the direct educative effects of the program, 
the questionnaire indicated that the patient did gain in terms 
of religious knowledge. 


Values For Ministry and Personal Growth 

Much of the excitement from student oriented and contex- 
tual education comes at the level of personal growth. Further- 
more, as a professional program with concern for developing 
effectiveness in ministry, this experience has had direct values 
for ministry within the setting of my own ministry. Beyond 
this, there are possibilities for developing the same type of 
ministry in other mental hospital centers growing out of the 
study completed here. The possibilities evident in this program 
for involving laity in this kind of ministry have widespread 
potential as well. 

I feel that the best way to describe the satisfaction in this 
total experience is to look at it from the standpoint of a birth 
process. I have been able to participate in the program at 
a number of significant levels as follows : ( 1 ) As a part of the 
Cleveland area group of the writer's peers: (2) As a partici- 
pant representative on the Coordinating Committee responsible 
for the direction of the total doctor of ministry program : (3) As 
a participant throughout my own total process of education as 
designer, director, trainer, and evaluator along with Core 
Faculty of my own selection and resource persons in areas of 
particular need. All of this afforded me an enriching experience 
of another birth process. It has been exciting to be a part of 
this total delivery system. This type of activity brings forth 
new growth and a greater zest in life. New growth begins with 
becoming more keenly aware of what is happening around me 
and in trying to internalize this awareness. Various pieces fit 
together adding new dimensions to one's personality previously 

Part of my growth as I have perceived it has been in 
becoming more open to new ideas as they have been offered 
through contacts with peer group members, core faculty 
members, Coordinating Committee members, support group 
members, and other co-workers in this program. The continuing 
evaluation process has afforded me a good opportunity to really 
take a good look at myself to see how I act and react in various 
learning situations ; thus I get to know myself better as a person. 
Personal growth has also come by being able to take more risks 
in the various personal relationships in which I have participated 
throughout the entire program. It is easier for me to be able to 
put myself on the line and to be less defensive about it than when 
the program first began. 

Growth has also come in the level of awareness as it relates 
to ministry to God's people in the mental hospital setting. That 


growth has occurred is evident through being able to do research 
and come up with a viable Christian education program in the 
hospital setting that is geared to the hospital residents. This 
contextual learning has opened up new doors in my life and I 
feel that I have come a long way on this oontinum; however, 
as this is being written, I realize full well that there is still a 
long way to go to achieve a more integrated personality. 
Hopefully I can continue in this growth in the years to come, 
through God's help. 

The program has fostered a broad spectrum of feelings 
and experiences. There have been feelings of excitement, of 
anticipation, of frustration, and failure, as I took part in 
meetings with peers, with Core Faculty, and with the Coordina- 
ting Committee. There were numerous times that the writer was 
on the hot seat, especially in relation to his peer group. I would 
be asked to defend certain positions that I took and my rationale 
for taking this particular position. At times I felt a bit threat- 
ened by my peers because they were critical of what I was 
doing in the program, especially in the area of research. This 
was good for me because I had to lay myself on the line and be 
able to risk an encounter with my peers; through this I grew 
as a person. I was apprehensive in the beginning because I had 
to take certain risks of being rejected, yet I realized, at the same 
time, that my peers were doing this for my own benefit. This 
challenging was really done in constructive ways in order to 
assist me to grow through this whole contextual process. At 
times, in the peer meetings, I felt the lack of support and 
thought that there was very much criticism; this made me feel 
a bit vulnerable. 

Regarding the meetings with the Core Faculty members, 
I felt that I always grew as we exchanged ideas relating to my 
D. Min. Program. The writer felt that each Core Faculty per- 
son had respect for him, and they knew that he really wanted 
to learn what they as individuals had to share with him. I felt 
an openness with each Core Faculty member so that we could 
engage in dialogue as it related to the various components of 
the whole program. They would challenge me at various points 
during the program; this was to benefit me personally and 
professionally. At times I felt the Core Faculty members were 
particularly supportive as I was working through some of the 
particularly difficult elements of the project. 

With reference to the meetings with the Coordinating 
Committee, I felt that even though I was a student represent- 
ative on the Committee, I was accepted as a full member of the 
Committee and that I could voice my opinion on any issue that 


came up for discussion. At times, the Coordinating Committee 
represented a support system. I felt grateful for the opportunity 
of sitting in on the Coordinating Committee meetings and 
thereby being able to see both sides of the issues being discussed. 
The writer felt that he had a better understanding of the whole 
program, including the process that was taking place in con- 
textual education. Within this relationship, I felt a personal 
growing process taking place as I learned to appreciate each 
member of the Coordinating Committee and their personal 
contribution to the whole doctor of ministry program. 

During the program I was becoming more aware of what 
was happening around me as well as being more aware of what 
was taking place within my own personhood. I became more 
aware of my own feelings and was able to identify these feelings 
while experiencing them, rather than getting in touch with them 
later on as had been my experience in the past. I was more 
spontaneous also with my responses to these feeling and thus 
I could begin to deal with the feelings more rapidly and also 
more edequately. I felt a development of trust and the ability 
to be more open with my own personal concerns. I felt more 
open as a person as I became engaged in the doctor of ministry 
program. I felt more receptive to new ideas that were introduced 
in various discussions. I felt more creative as I became involved 
in my own project and the projects of my peers, especially those 
who belonged to the Cleveland Group. The author felt a com- 
radship with his peers — when he was not on the hot seat — as 
several members of the group were going through the contextual 
process and learning from one another and as each person 
worked through his own feelings. 

There was a change in the attitudes of this participant as 
he realized the various feelings that were brought out clearly 
in the research data, as to the types of persons he was minis- 
tering to in the hospital. It was a very significant fact that a 
large percentage of the hospital patients in the research study — 
65% of all the patients — were unmarried and thus could not 
maintain an intimate and lasting interpersonal relationship 
with another individual. It was suggested that for this reason 
they were seeking to meet their basic social needs through 
religious beliefs and religious practices and that they tried, 
therefore, to establish a meaningful relationship with a per- 
sonalized God. The author felt that he must minister to the 
needs of the patients at Cleveland Psychiatric Institute who 
suffer from emotional problems as well as many other personal 
problems in the name of God, the Creator. This, indeed, is a 
theological activity. My response to God's love is to serve Him 


in this context of ministry, by serving others in His Name, try- 
ing to convey this Divine Love to persons in need. 

There was a feeling of relief for the participant as the 
various components of his program, such as the designing of 
the research instrument, the compiling of the results of the 
research, the designing of the Christian education program, 
and the implementation of the teaching program etc., were 
completed and fell into place as part of the total doctor 
of ministry program. I had real feelings of achievement 
in progress toward my goal. There was a feeling of joy as 
I sensed the change of mood and the change of attitudes of the 
patients as they became more involved in the Christian education 
program. They appeared to be more tolerant and understanding 
of one another in the Christian community as a part of the 
hospital setting. They showed more patience with each other 
and would assist others in the group who were not able to func- 
tion as well as they with various tasks in the hospital setting. 
Feelings of anticipation and of excitement were experienced 
as I dealt with the implementation of the on-going Christian 
education program in the hospital. These feelings were carried 
over as I planned for the future of this program along with the 
support group composed of professional teachers. There was 
real anticipation among us as we met monthly to plan and carry 
out the Christian education curriculum. This curriculum con- 
sists of: 

a) Basic Course in Christian Education 

b) Intermediate Course in Christian Education 

c) Advanced Course in Christian Education 

A Frontier in Ministry 

The program of ministry in which I have been involved 
is not limited to this hospital setting only — or to the hospital 
setting alcne. It has ramifications for other hospitals and for 
the outreach of the hospitals into its surrounding community. 
This being the case, I experience the same feelings of hope and 
anticipation as I planned for the patient support system in the 
community into which discharged patients could be referred. 
Feelings of hope flood in as I think of the future in this min- 
istry — as I can become involved more and more in people's lives, 
not only during the time of the patient's stay in the hospital, 
but as referrals are made out among the clergypersons in the 
community and the members of their churches. Hopefully this 
referral system will become more operative so that discharged 
patients will not experience the rejection and loneliness that 


they have lived with prior to their coming into the Cleveland 
Psychiatric Institute. Hopefully, they can find the love and the 
acceptance that they have needed and sought previously. As 
pastors of these community churches show their love and con- 
cern to these ex-patients, these former patients will be led into 
taking part in some of the functions of the congregations. 
Corellative to this should be the establishment of a support 
system for the local clergypersons in the community who are 
willing to work in this phase of ministry. Through the ex-patient 
support system these persons can become involved in the work 
of God and His church and thus find new meaning to their 
desolate lives. Hopefully, people in the churches will not turn 
them off because they have been hospitalized for emotional 
problems, rather they will accept them and assist them to adjust 
to life and its many problems. The possibility of setting up of 
an adequate support system for the local clergypersons brings 
a measure of hope for the accomplishment of this task, since 
here will be additional trained persons in the community to 
minister to the emotionally disturbed person. Some pasters are 
reluctant to and in some cases not comfortable in dealing 
with the mentally ill person because they do not know how to 
handle them. 

During times of crisis the comfort that the ex-patient could 
receive through God's Word is vital, particularly if he is in direct 
contact with the church and understanding members. They can 
assist him with his problems as he seeks the solutions to the 
overwhelming feelings that make it difficult at times for him 
to function up to par. In all times of need the ex-patient can 
learn to cope with his problems, providing that he is supported 
by his fellow Christians. Hopefully, this will be the case with 
more and more of the discharged patients at the Cleveland 
Psychiatric Institute. If this occurs the writer will enjoy a feel- 
ing of accomplishment as he senses that he has had a little part 
in helping to meet the needs of the emotionally disturbed persons. 

The author looks forward to the development of a continuity 
of care as he relates to patients and ex-patients through their 
pastors in the community as they are discharged from the hos- 
pital. There will be a feeling of on-goingness to the ministry to 
individuals. Up until now I have felt a somewhat fragmented 
ministry to people in the hospital because often they would come 
in to the hospital due to a crisis situation. After this crisis 
situation is over they leave the hospital and the chaplain would 
not see them again until the next crisis situation took place. 
Hopefully, in the future there will be a more complete ministry 
to whole families and not just to one specific member of the 


family. I am eager to share in a more extended ministry which 
will encompass the entire family unit. Within the family unit 
one can observe what is taking place on an inter-personal level 
with the various members of the family. By this process the 
chaplain will be able to diagnose what is happening in the family 
unit and assist in eliminating the destructive tensions existing 
among the family members. This would provide a feeling of 
accomplishment. In addition, here I could be ministering directly 
and/or indirectly to the "whole person" and attempting to help 
meet the needs of the total person. 

In conclusion, the writer looks forward to the satisfactions 
of this extended type of ministry as he continues this integrative 
process of ministry in their community at large. This will pro- 
vide a more holistic ministry including not only the ex-patient 
but also his extended family. Included in this community min- 
istry are the pastors of the churches where the ex-patient will 
make their church home. This, then, is the frontier in ministry 
for this D. Min. program participant. 



..and Theological 


Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio 

Spring 1977 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 


Spring, 1977 

Introduction to the Current Issue 





Joseph N. Kickasola, Ph.D. 

» «*m t 

Editorial Committee: Owen H. Alderfer, editor 

Joseph N. Kickasola 
Joseph R. Shultz, Vice President 

Vol. X No. 1 

Published by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 

Introduction to the Current Issue 

THE 1977 issue of the Ashland Theological Bulletin is 
comprised of a single article representing the results of 
thorough and comprehensive research and reflection by a mem- 
ber of the Ashland Theological Seminary faculty. "Trine Com- 
munion" as a ritual concept and practice is of particular interest 
to the entire spectrum of Brethren bodies specifically and Ana- 
baptist-oriented groups generally. Interestingly, the statement 
presented here has developed from the research and thought of 
a Reformed scholar who has been brought into proximity to 
Brethren practice by his teaching appointment at the seminary. 
Brethren groups especially will be interested in Dr. Kickasola's 
findings, stimulated in their studies of the subject, and chal- 
lenged in their observance of communion rites. 

Joseph N. Kickasola, Ph.D., is a graduate of Houghton 
College, B.A., Westminster Theological Seminary, B.D., and 
Brandeis University, M.A. and Ph.D. At Brandeis University 
Dr. Kickasola was a National Woodrow Wilson Dissertation 
Fellow (1970-71) while working toward the completion of a doc- 
toral degree in Egyptology. The writer has been involved in 
pastoral ministry with the Methodist Church in New York and 
New Jersey. He pastored in Philadelphia under assignment with 
the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, the denomination of his 
present affiliation. Dr. Kickasola has been on the faculty of 
Ashland Theological Seminary since 1971, serving in the Depart- 
ment of Old Testament. He has traveled in Israel and Italy in 
broadening his experience relative to his profession. Dr. and 
Mrs. Kickasola and their three children live in Ashland. 

It was originally planned that this article be published in 
May, 1977 ; however, the fields of possibility for the writer rela- 
tive to the subject continued to expand and the issues involved 
called for sharper definition so that publication has been post- 
poned until June, 1978. 

Leviticus and Trine Communion 

Joseph N. Kickasola, Ph.D. 

Associate Professor of Old Testament 

Ashland Theological Seminary 

I. Introduction 

II. General Considerations 

A. Feasts 

B. Offerings 

C. Leviticus 17:11 

III. Sacrificial Procedure: Three Categories and the Six 
Ritual Acts 

A. Expiation (Crisis Experience) 

1. Presentation 

2. Leaning 

3. Slaughter 

4. Manipulation 

B. Consecration (Changing Experience) 

5. Sublimation 

C. Celebration (Sharing Experience) 

6. Meal 

IV. Significance of Ritual Acts: Three Fulfillment Aspects 

A. Objective-Central Aspect: Christ 

1. Expiation (Crisis-Blood) : The Death of Christ 

2. Consecration (Changing-Fire) : The Life of Christ 

3. Celebration (Sharing-Meal) : The Supper of Christ 

B. Subjective-Individual Aspect: Christ within the 

1. Expiation (Crisis-Blood) : Conversion 

2. Consecration (Changing-Fire) : Sanctification 

3. Celebration (Sharing-Meal) : Communion Joy 

C. Ceremonial-Corporate Aspect: Christ in the 
Christian Ceremonies 

1. Expiation (Crisis-Blood) : Eucharist 

2. Consecration (Changing-Fire) : Pedilavium 

3. Celebration (Sharing-Meal) : Agape 

V. Practical Observations 

A. Sequence 

B. Manner 

I. Introduction 

The purpose of this study, Leviticus and Trine 1 Communion, 
is to restudy the New Testament ceremonies of the Eucharist 
(the bread and cup of blessing), the Pedilavium (the ceremonial 
washing of feet), and the Agape (the love-feast, the Lord's 
Supper) from an Old Testament perspective. This study is 
needful for two reasons. The first reason is that it has been more 
than a decade since these have been studied together. 2 The sec- 
ond reason is that these three have never been studied together 
in the light of Old Testament ceremonial (sacrificial) categories. 3 
It is the view of this writer that the implications of Levitical 
procedure for Christian liturgy are significant, and have been 
largely overlooked, and are herein the distinctively new element. 
Perhaps a third need can be mentioned. As a professor of Old 
Testament at Ashland Theological Seminary I share its conser- 
vative-evangelical Christian presuppositions, but they are in the 
Anabaptist, Believers' Church, tradition, and I in the Reformed. 
They have welcomed my private and public opinions on these 
things which are very precious to them, and see the need for 
fertile exchange of different perspectives. I reciprocate in the 
spirit of warm negotiability by offering this study to them, not 
as a critique of their ideas on this subject, but, as fulfilling the 
third need, namely my own independent attempt to theologize 
an experience they have given to me. 

The quest began by an attempt to understand the meaning 
of the Pedilavium. The day after these feet-washing ceremonies 

1 The words trine and triune can be distinguished, although in 
fact they are often used interchangeably. Trine means "threefold" (Latin 
tri- "three," plus -nus "fold"), and, therefore, appropriately expresses the 
three phases of the Lord's supper (Agape-Pedilavium-Eucharist). The word 
triune means "three in one" (Latin tri- "three," plus -unus "one"), and suit- 
ably expresses the Trinity of the Godhead (Latin trinitas means "triad," or 
"trio," encompassing each Person in One Essence). Incidently, those who 
practice triple baptism (thrice forward) call it either "triune baptism" (thus 
stressing the unity of one descent into the waters of Christ's ordeal), or 
"trine baptism" (stressing that the submerging dips forward from the kneeling 
position are thrice in succession, being in the name of the Father, and of 
the Son, and of the Holy Spirit). 

2 Joseph R. Shultz, The Soul of the Symbols: A Theological Study 
of Holy Communion (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publish- 
ing Company, 1966). For those who have not read in the area of the Brethren 
tradition see Charles F. Yoder, God's Means of Grace (Elgin, 111.: Brethren 
Publishing House, 1908), pp. 283-416. 

3 The present study is an expansion of the second of two previously 
published cassette tapes. Joseph N. Kickasola, "The Relationship of Law 
and Grace," and "The Significance of Sacrificial Ritual Acts," Westminster 
Media Tapes JK 101 and JK 102, The Harry A. Worcester Lectureship of 
Westminster Theological Seminary, March 8-9, 1976, "Two Theological 
Studies in Biblical Law: A Foundation and Application" (Westminster Media, 
P.O. Box 27009, Philadelphia, PA 19118). 

I would feel warmly human and good about what I, in Christ, 
had done, and what had been done by Christian brothers to me, 
but could not understand why I felt that way. The idea that I 
was acting in imitation of and in obedience to Christ, while an 
impressive point, was not to me sufficient. The points of sin- 
washing and service were more impressive still, though incon- 
clusive for our day. During one of these feet-washing ceremonies 
Delbert Flora, professor emeritus of Biblical Archaeology, shared 
privately with me the notion that a participant in such a service 
is a "priest." Since then the idea of "priest" to me has connoted 
"service" in two senses: serving and ceremony. It is precisely 
the latter that to me is the most cogent rationale for the 
Pedilavium (or Agape) in the postapostolic age, namely, liturgi- 
cal need. Modern man needs very much to cerewionialize his 
active and passive consecration to God, and the need is clearly 
true for Biblical man; washing and being washed expresses it 
in a powerful and Biblical way. We all hold to the normativity of 
the Eucharist. It is the position of this study that while the 
Pedilavium and Agape cannot be proven to be normative Chris- 
tian worship, they are normal, and are intensely appropriate 
expressions of the ceremonial categories in both the Old and 
New Testaments. The large liturgical load which many believers 
place upon the Eucharist alone needs to be carefully yet toler- 
antly reexamined. We should all seek to theologize what we are 
doing. To those who observe Trine Communion, and to those 
who for innovative worship want to experiment in this area, we 
humbly offer this as one Biblical option. 

There needs to be a word of caution here about experimen- 
tation as a hermeneutic. I am not experimenting with sacra- 
ments. There are only two : non-recurrent Baptism and recurrent 
Eucharist. The question is, did Jesus intend for the Pedilavium 
or the Agape to be an ongoing part of the second sacrament, 
whose constituent element is the Eucharist? As to liturgical 
experimentation, it is my view that while experience must not 
be an exegetical or hermeneutical device to open up the Scrip- 
tures, it can occassionally have the effect of opening up the 
person to some possibly genuine Scriptural options. But the 
Scriptures must still be independently exegeted. The personally 
creative possibilities of experience are especially true in Holy 
Communion where there is, as Joseph Shultz in another context 
has said, a shift in emphasis (but only emphasis) from proposi- 
tionalizing truth to experiencing truth, from the messenger 
(prophet) to the message, from communication to communion, 
and from His revelation to the Revelation Himself. 4 It is always 
healthy to keep these two aspects together. Body and spirit are 
inseparable in this life; we sin as persons, as psychosomatic 

4 Shultz, ibid., p. 27. 

units. Though offensive to the superspiritual, it is a tribute to 
the altar-theology of Leviticus that there is no cleavage between 
ceremonial sin and moral sin. This precious pre-Christian (but 
not sub-Christian) book moves from one to the other without 
disjunction or distinction. 

For those outside Trine-Communion churches, perhaps an 
introductory word ought to be given on the historical scope of 
modern practice. My colleague, Jerry Flora, professor of Chris- 
tian Theology, in an informal class outline, succinctly provides 
us with the scope of Agape observance, several of these groups 
still retaining the Pedilavium as well. 

The Christian Church (Disciples) formerly observed the 
Agape, as did also the United Brethren and many Baptists. 
The Methodist Church originally had what it called a love- 
feast, bread and water taken in the morning preceding the 
observance of the Eucharist in the evening. The Agape is 
celebrated also by the Brethren groups, the Brethren in Christ, 
the Church of God, the Mennonites, and the Amish. 

Finally, an introductory word on the scope of this study 
itself. Although there follows a brief word on the appointed 
sacrificial feasts (Leviticus 23), and the different types of offer- 
ings, the focus is on the sacrificial ritual actions themselves, and 
on their liturgical-procedural categories. In a word, this is a 
study on the sequence and significance of Old Testament sacri- 
ficial rituals and the New Testament ramifications of these, 
especially for Christian ceremonies. To this task we now turn. 

II. General Considerations 

A. Feasts 

The major passages on the annual feasts of ancient Israel 
are Ex. 12, 23, 34; Lev. 23; Num. 28-29; and Deut. 16. Each of 
these six passages, in a noncomprehensive way, contributes to 
the total picture of Israel's liturgical calendar. For example, 
Num. 28-29 concentrates on the offerings themselves (cf. 28:2, 
29:39). This passage can be outlined as follows: 

I. Offerings of Appointed Times (28:1—29:40) 

A. Introduction (28:1-2) 

B. Body (28:3—29:38) 

1. Daily (Continual) Offerings (28:3-8) 

2. Weekly (Sabbath) Offerings (28:9-10) 

3. Monthly (New Moon) Offerings (28:11-15) 

4. Annual (Feast) Offerings (28:16—29:38) 

C. Conclusion (29:39-40) 

There is a slightly different arrangement of material in 


Lev. 23, which emphasizes the appointed times (feasts) them- 
selves. It can be outlined as follows: 

I. Appointed Times (23:1-44) 

A. Introduction (1-2) 

B. Sabbath (3) 

C. Feasts (4-43) 

1. Introduction (4) 

2. Feasts (5-43) 

(1) Passover (5) 

(2) Unleavened Bread (6-8) 

(3) First Fruits (9-14) 

(4) Pentecost (15-22) 

(5) Trumpets (23-25) 

(6) Atonement (26-32) 

(7) Tabernacles (33-43) 

D. Conclusion (44) 

The significance of the feasts can best be gained by using the 
focus of Lev. 23 as a basis, and by comparing the parallel pas- 
sages and New Testament with it. The following brief outline 
on the significance of Israel's liturgical calendar seeks to do 
just that. 5 

I. The Seven Feasts of Leviticus 23 

A. Three Feasts of the First Month (Spring) 

1. Feast of Passover (23:5) 

BLOOD. This feast is called Passover (pesah) in the Bible, 
and in post-Biblical literature it is also called "the feast of the 
liberation" (hag haheruth), or "the time of our liberation" 
(zeman herathenu). It begins in the middle (full moon) of the 
first month of the religious calendar, on the 14th of Nisan 
(March-April), also called the month of Abib, just at twilight. 
It signifies liberation from Egyptian bondage through the 
BLOOD of the Passover lamb, and deliverance from our sins 
through the blood of Jesus the Christ, the Lamb of God, which 
He shed on Good Friday of Holy "Week. 

2. Feast of Unleavened Bread (23:6-8) 

BODY. This feast, called Unleavened Bread (matsoth), is held 
for seven days on the 15th-21st of the same spring month 
(Nisan/ Abib), and the bread signifies the undefiled body of our 

5 For a general and somewhat popular (though dispensational) 
treatment of the main features and applications of the Jewish feasts, see the 
cassette tape of the Hebrew-Christian Zola Levitt, "The Passover & Other 
Jewish Feasts," 1975. Liberation Tapes, P.O. Box 6044, Lubbock, Texas. 
For a table showing the Hebrew calendar with its month names, agricultural 
seasons, and festivals, see J. D. Douglas, ed., The New Bible Dictionary 
(Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962), p. 177. 

Lord which is broken for us, and the undefiled (unleavened) 
walk of fellowship we, the body of Christ, have in Him who is 
the Bread of Heaven. All day Saturday of Holy Week (and part 
of Friday and Sunday) the body of Jesus lay in the tomb. 

3. Feast of First Fruits (23:9-14) 

RESURRECTION. Just as Passover and the week of Unleav- 
ened Bread were often thought of as one Feast of Unleavened 
Bread, so this Feast of First Fruits and Pentecost (which fol- 
lows) were thought of as one Feast of Harvest (qatsir). This 
feast is called the Feast of First Fruits (reshith) , in which the 
Israelite is commanded to bring in "the sheaf of the first fruits 
of your harvest" (omer reshith qetsirkhem, 23:10). The barley 
sheaf was waved before the Lord at this beginning of the har- 
vest season, which was followed fifty days later by the Feast of 
Harvest (hag haqqatsir) wherein was offered the "first fruits 
of the wheat harvest" (bikkure qestir hittim, Ex. 34:22). The 
Feast of First Fruits occurs on the 16th of Nisan/Abib, the sec- 
ond day of Unleavened Bread, which is known in Scripture as 
being "on the morrow (day) after the sabbath" (minimohorath 
hashabbath, Lev. 23:11, 15), the "sabbath" being the 15th of 
Nisan, the first day of Unleavened Bread (not necessarily the 
ordinary weekly sabbath), so called because it is a feast-day of 
rest and holy convocation (23:7). 6 The significance of the First 
Fruits of the harvest is that the first of the standing grain to 
which they put the sickle (Deut. 16:9) belongs to the Lord as 
the first order and token of the God-given harvest, and so too 
Christ, who arose on the first day after the sabbath, became 
"the first fruits (aparcfoe) of those who are asleep" (1 Cor. 
15:20), awaiting His second coming (vs. 23). So we see the 
marvelous fulfillment wrought by Jesus Christ, in whom all the 
promises are yea and amen (II Cor. 1:20), who in Passion Week 
fulfilled the three feasts of the first month by giving His 
BLOOD to the altar of Golgotha on Good Friday (Passover, the 
14th of Nisan), by giving His BODY to the tomb in the sleep 
of death on Holy Saturday (Feast of Unleavened Bread, the 
15th), and on Easter Sunday by rising from the dead in 
RESURRECTION power of the first order (Feast of First Fruits, 
the day after the sabbath, the 16th of Nisan). 

B. An Intermediate Feast (Summer) 

4. Feast of Pentecost (23:15-22) 

HARVEST. The names for this one-day feast are the Feast 

6 For a discussion of the time and activities of the 16th of Nisan 
(and for a commentary generally helpful on all of Leviticus), see C. D. Gins- 
burg, "The Third Book of Moses, Called Leviticus," in A Bible Commentary 
for English Readers by Various Writers, ed. Charles John Ellicott (London: 
Cassel and Company, Limited, n.d.), 1:443 (Lev. 23:11). 


of Harvest (hag haqqatsir) proper, the Feast of (seven) Weeks 
(hag hashavuoth) , and Pentecost, "the Fiftieth (Day) " (Greek 
pentekoste), i.e. fifty (Greek pentekonta) days from the prior 
Feast of First Fruits until the final "day of the first fruits" (yom 
habbikkurim, Num. 28:26). This represents seven weeks of grain 
harvesting, counting "from the time you began to put the sickle 
to the standing grain" (Deut. 16:9), i.e. fifty days from the bar- 
ley harvest begun "on the morrow (day) after the sabbath" 
(Lev. 23:11, 15), the 16th of Nisan, unto "the first fruits of the 
wheat harvest" (Ex. 34:22), the "new grain-offering" (minha 
hadasha, Lev. 23:16) in the third month (the 6th of Sivan, May- 
June). The significance of this feast is, again, that the harvest 
belongs to the Lord, who will abundantly supply in the most 
praiseworthy manner, and the great HARVEST of souls won 
to the Lord by the Holy Spirit, who was poured out on this very 
day fifty days after the resurrection, included in which were 
the forty days of resurrection appearances to His disciples. The 
great harvest of souls includes, in just the earliest stages alone, 
the 3000 (Acts 2:41), the 5000 (4:4), and further, "the word of 
God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples contin- 
ued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the 
priests were becoming obedient to the faith" (6:7). Interestingly, 
Jews further call the agricultural festival of Pentecost by a 
religious name, "the time of the giving of the law" (zeman 
mattan Tora), which by rabbinical calculation they hold to be 
the season of God's giving the law to Moses on Mount Sinai. It 
is too, we see, the day that the Lawgiver came to Zion spreading 
the precepts of the Gospel in the purity of pentecostal fire. From 
Pentecost to the next feast the New Testament phase of the Age 
of the Gentiles is spanned, reaping the harvest of the Lord. 

C. Three Feasts of the Seventh Month (Fall) 
5. Feast of Trumpets (23:23-25) 

RAPTURE. The name of this feast is Trumpets, literally "a 
resounding" (tenia, Lev. 23:24) of voices and trumpets, or "a 
day for resounding" (yom terua, Num. 29:1) of voices and 
trumpets. The trumpets used probably were the silver clarions 
(hatsotseroth, much like the Roman or English post-horns) 
mentioned in Num. 10. 

Also in the day of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, 
and on the first days of your months, you shall blow the 
trumpets {hatsotseroth) over your burnt offerings, and over 
the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be as a 
reminder of you before your God. I am the Lord your God 
(Num. 10:10). 

The time of this feast is the 1st of Tishri, also called Ethanim 
(I Kgs. 8:2), the seventh month (September-October). This is 

the day of the 7th new moon, the last month of the harvesting 
(agricultural) season. Post-exilic Jews reckon, after Babylonian 
fashion, Tishri to be the 1st month of the civil year, and there- 
fore call the feast of Trumpets Rosh Hashana, "the head of the 
(civil) year," the modern Jewish New Year's Day. This, in fact, 
is the early agricultural orientation of the Bible (and West 
Semitic nations) whereby the autumn is the "going out of the 
year" (Ex. 23:16), or the "turn of the year" (Ex. 34:22). But 
when things can begin to be harvested again in the spring it is 
called the "return of the year," the dry season (April- 
September), also a time when kings can go forth to war (Ex. 
23:16, II Sam. 11:1, I Kgs. 20:26, H Chr. 36:10). The designa- 
tions of the rainy season (October-March) themselves show this 
same ancient fall orientation: the "early rain" (yoreh) is in the 
fall (October-November), and the "latter rain" (malqosh; 1-q-sh 
"to be late") is in the spring (March- April). Further, the sab- 
batical year begins in the fall (on the Day of Atonement, Lev. 
25:8-10). The orientation of the religious calendar to spring 
(Nisan) is due, of course, to the exodus deliverance (Ex. 12:2, 
Deut. 16:1, 6). The significance of the feast of Trumpets is that 
God in the final moon calls His people to Himself by trumpets 
to prepare them for the last events and their impending judg- 
ment (Day of Atonement) when moons shall wax and wane no 
more. So too, by resounding shout and trumpet, Jesus shall 
gather His elect together to Himself just prior to the heavenly 
judgment day (Mt. 24:30, 31; I Thess. 4:14-17). This trumpet 
will be the "last trumpet" (I Cor. 15:52), which apparently is 
the "seventh trumpet" (Rev. 11:15) terminating all earthly 
judgments of tribulation and ushering man before the bar of 
heaven. The feast of Trumpets points to the (postpentecostal) 
redemptive event known as the RAPTURE of Christ's covenant 

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a 
shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet 
(salpinx, which in the LXX uniformly translates the 
trumpet-words hatsotsera, shophar, yovel) of God; and the 
dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and 
remain shall be caught up (harpagesometha; Latin rapiemiur 
"raptured") together with them in the clouds to meet the 
Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord 
(I Thess. 4:16,17.). 

6. Feast of Atonement (23:26-32) 

REDEMPTION. The feast of Atonement is called "the Day of 
Atonement" (yom hakkippurim) , the famous Yom Kippur. It 
is held on the 10th day of the 7th month (Tishri), starting on 
the evening of the 9th (Lev. 16:29, 23:27, 32). The activities of 
this day are unique, being the most solemn holy day of ancient 


Israel. Only on this day of the whole year was blood brought 
into the Holy of Holies, and the scapegoat ceremony conducted 
(Lev. 16). It was a day of confession of sin and fasting ("and 
you shall afflict your souls," Lev. 23:27, 29, 32, cf. Acts 27:9). 
In Judaism today it is ushered in by the sound of the shophar, 
the ram's horn (cf. Lev. 25:9), and every Jew prays to be in- 
scribed in the book of life for the coming year. The significance 
of this feast, according to Lev. 16 and Heb. 9-10, is the trans- 
feral, cleansing and removal of the guilt and penalty of sin. We 
have passed from condemnation unto life, for we were punished 
in Christ, our sacrificial Substitute, who shed His own blood, 
suffered outside the gate, and entered the heavenly Holy of 
Holies, the very throne-room of the Lord of heaven. Just as the 
Day of Atonement follows Trumpets, so the judgment will follow 
the rapture. In that judgment day when we all enter the Holy 
of Holies to appear before the bar of heaven, we "shall be saved, 
yet so as through fire" (I Cor. 3:15). For then the Lord "will 
both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose 
the motives of men's hearts; and then each man's praise will 
come to him from God" (4:5). "For we must all appear before 
the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may be recompensed 
for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether 
good or bad" (II Cor. 5:10). Nothing will be omitted from the 
record on that day, as we have the very testimony of our Lord : 

But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, 
and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly whatever 
you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and 
what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be 
proclaimed upon the housetops (Lk. 12:2, 3). 

On that day of Remembrance, God's day in court, the books will 
be read before God as the final memorial. Each one of us shall 
give an account of himself to God (Mt. 12:36, Rom. 14:10, 12, 
Heb. 4:13, 13:17, I Pet. 4:5). But we are redeemed! We will 
endure the day of judgment. We will not be on our own. We have 
His promise that our sins are forgiven and will not be remem- 
bered against us in that day of remembrance of all things be- 
fore God (cf. Ps. 79:8). The books to be read, according to the 
testimony of Rev. 20:12-15, are not just the Books of the Deeds 
of men, but also the Book of Life. Christ, who intercedes for us, 
will not deny His own in that day, but will confess our names 
before the Father (Mt. 10:32) from this book of redemption, 
and we with Him for that final moment of most holy justice will 
plead the blood for every deed in the record. Once believers and 
unbelievers are eternally separated, and all tears have been wiped 
away (Rev. 21:4), God will remember us only for good in Christ 
and reward us eternally, crowning Himself in us. 


7. Feast of Tabernacles (23:33-43) 

REST. The names of the last feast are the Feast of Taber- 
nacles or Booths (hag hassukkoth) and the Feast of Ingather- 
ing (hag haasiph) of the final crops. The feast is named after 
the tabernacle or booth (sukka) in which worshippers rested 
for seven days, from the 15th to the 21st of the 7th month 
(Tishri). Tree boughs and palm branches were cut to provide 
foliage-shelter as a memorial of the exodus journey from Egypt 
when they lived in booths (Lev. 23:43). This memorial of the 
exodus gave the feast of tabernacles a redemptive base different 
from the harvest festivals of neighboring nations with their 
fertility myths. On the eighth day, the 22nd of Tishri, "in the 
last day, the great day of the feast" (Jn. 7:37), there was a Con- 
cluding Assembly (atsereth, Lev. 23:36, Num. 29:35, Neh. 8:18, 
II Chr. 7:9, 10; the word for "concluding assembly" is also used 
for the 7th and last day of the week of Unleavened Bread in 
Deut. 16:8). Before Christian times the Feast of Drawing Water 
(simhath beth hashoeva) was associated with this Concluding 
Assembly of the 8th and final day, perhaps originally in token 
of the rainy season about to appear in the climate of the region 
(cf. the "no rain" of Zechariah's eschatological feasts of Taber- 
nacles in Zech. 14:16-19). Jesus perhaps alluded to this practice 
at the Feast of Tabernacles: 

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood 
and cried out, saying, "If any man is thirsty, let him come 
to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture 
said, 'From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living 
water"' (Jn. 7:37-38). 

Both the 1st day (15th of Tishri) and this 8th day of Taber- 
nacles (22nd) were called "a holy convocation" (miqra qodesh) 
in which no laborious work was done (Lev. 23:35, 36), and each 
was called "a Sabbath rest" (shabbathon, vs. 39). The signifi- 
cance of Tabernacles is sabbatical REST. Just as Tabernacles 
follows Yom Kippur, so our eternal rest will follow our redemp- 
tion from judgment. Just as the Day of Atonement dealt with 
the guilt and penalty of sin, so our eternal rest in the tabernacles 
the Lord is preparing for us in heaven will be free from the pres- 
ence and effect of sin. We will be saved to the uttermost (Heb. 
7:25). We will have made our exodus from Satan's tyranny over 
this world to dwell each one in the garden mansions of the 
Promised Land. This is the ultimate sabbath, resting in the rest 
of the Lord. God since Day Seven of creation has been in His 
creation rest (note that there is no refrain in Gen. 2:3, "And 
there was evening and there was morning, the seventh day"). 
He invites man on a weekly basis to taste of this rest of God. 
Our basic text for this survey of the feasts begins with the 
weekly sabbath (Lev. 23:1-3), and ends with the most sabbatical 


of all feasts : the seven-day tabernacle-rest of the seventh month 
consummating the seven feasts. Even the offerings of Taber- 
nacles are divinely engineered to descend from the first to the 
seventh day by means of daily one less bullock from thirteen 
down to seven victims on the seventh day (Num. 29:13,32). 
This remarkable sabbatical numeration is preceded and heralded 
not only by the weekly sabbath, but by Unleavened Bread last- 
ing for seven days, by Pentecost being seven weeks after First 
Fruits, and by a seven-month inclusive period from Nisan to 
Tishri which God has ordained for all the feasts, which period 
witnesses seven holy convocations (two for each of Unleavened 
Bread and Tabernacles ; one for each of Pentecost, Trumpets and 
Atonement) . Outside the feast-system of one sabbath day during 
the week, and one sabbath week during the yearly feast of Taber- 
nacles, there is, in addition, one sabbath year during the sabba- 
tical seven-year cycle. Yet Scripture goes from glory to sur- 
passing glory, from the holy place to the most holy place, from 
perfection to greater perfection, from seven to eight. The prin- 
ciple of seven-yea-eight, the day after the sabbath, is encoun- 
tered many times: completed creation began its cycles on the 
day after the sabbath of God; Passover plus Unleavened Bread 
lasted for eight days; the terminus a quo for Pentecost is on 
the day after the sabbath; Pentecost is the 50th day (7x7 + 
1) ; Tabernacles is eight days; its first and its eighth day are 
called a sabbath rest; jubilee is the 50th year (7x7 + 1) ; Jesus 
arose from the dead on the day after the sabbath; the Christian 
church worships on the day after the sabbath, resurrection day, 
the Lord's day, observing in Him a sabbath rest over sin and 
death; and finally, "There remains therefore a sabbath rest 
(sabbatismos) for the people of God" (Heb. 4:9), for God is still 
in His sabbath rest of Seven- Yea-Eight, and invites all of His 
creation who trust in the finished work of Christ to celebrate an 
unending continuum of Creation- Yea-Neocreation Days with Him 
in glory. 

With the brief word on each of the feasts complete, we may 
now generalize on the whole. Three times a year was pilgrimage- 
festival time in Israel, the feasts of the 1st, 3rd, and 7th month, 
summarily known as Unleavened Bread, Harvest/Weeks, and 
Ingathering/Tabernacles (Ex. 23:14-17, 34:18-23, Deut. 16:16). 
No male at these times was to appear before God empty-handed. 
This highlights the great importance of sacrifice in ancient 
Israel, which is the tribute due to the great King of Heaven from 
whom all blessings flow. These were truly sacrificial appointed 
times. Yet we see that they, by wisdom, did not interfere with 
the industry of the people: Passover being just before and 
Tabernacles just after harvesting, while Pentecost (Weeks) 
came between grain and vintage. There were no pilgrimages in 
the winter when wet and cold might make travel difficult, and 


when plowing and seeding had to be done (and in modern times 
the huge citrus harvesting). While the feasts followed the agri- 
cultural seasons, the meaning of their sequence, as we have seen, 
is far more sublime. They are typological in both sequence and 
significance, being to the eye of faith a veritable calendar of the 
redemptive seasons in the history of God with man, some yet to 
transpire in full historical form. On the negative side they elo- 
quently are designed to show their own insufficiency, as for 
example in the case of the daily (continual) offering which is 
diminished by that of the day of Atonement since only it could 
enter the Holy of Holies. In turn, even it is diminished by the one 
offering of Christ who was offered once, not year after year, to 
enter not the ultimate human sanctuary, but Heaven itself. 
Finally, in every case, one is struck with Biblical man's need to 
ceremonialize his relationship with the Lord, and God's unspeak- 
ably rich and wise ceremonial provision. 

B. Offerings 

The focus of this study, as indicated in the Introduction, is 
on the sequence and significance of Old Testament sacrificial 
rituals, not on the various kinds of offerings. The sequence and 
significance of the feasts have just been generally considered. 
A still briefer word on the various kinds of offerings can be 
generally considered now, but here giving just enough back- 
ground data from Leviticus to facilitate moving on to the stated 
focus of this study. 

The amount of detail in Leviticus (esp. chaps. 1-7) and the 
rest of the Penteteuch on the various kinds of offerings with 
their respective regulations regarding materials and quantities, 
occasions and purposes, is large and complex, and may be treated 
in a number of ways. 7 Some of the data can be outlined as 
follows : 

I. Kinds of Offerings (qorban) 

A. Blood (Animal) Offerings (zevah) 

1. Burnt Offering (ola) 

Only this one could not be eaten by anyone, 
but was to be wholly (kalil) burnt on the altar, 
and therefore also called the whole burnt offering. 

2. Sin Offering (hattath) 

Deals with ceremonial (and moral) sin. 

3. Guilt Offering (asham) 

Also called the trespass offering, stressing sin 
against a neighbor and value compensation. 

7 For a truly excellent and brief article on these things, with some 
helpful discussion of ritual and meaning, plus a good bibliography for fur- 
ther reading, see R. J. Thompson, "Sacrifice and Offering," in The New 
Bible Dictionary, ed. J. D. Douglas (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerd- 
mans Publishing Co., 1962), pp. 1113-22. 


4. Peace Offerings (shelamim) 

The sacrifices of peace offerings (zivhe she- 
lamin) stress covenant meal, communion and 
reconciliation (being from either shalom peace, 
or shillem to repay.) 

a. Thank Offering (toda) 

Also called the sacrifice of praise (Heb. 
13:15), repaying acts of providence. 

b. Votive Offering (neder) 

Fulfilling a vow. 

c. Voluntary Offering (nedava) 

Also called the freewill offering, apparently 
fulfilling a good intention. 

B. Non-blood (Vegetable) Offerings (minha) 

5. Grain Offering (minha) 

Also called the cereal offering, and formerly 
by the now misleading "meat offering." It is most 
often used in conjunction with a preceding blood 
offering. The drink offerings (nesakhim) were 
libations used in conjunction with other offerings 
as well, including the grain offering. 

Finally, in the Bible a sacrifice is regarded as an "offering" 
(qorban) which is "brought near" (qarab) to the altar where 
the Lord dwells (cf. Ex. 20:24), consuming the sacrifices, which 
are collectively known as the "gifts of holiness" (mattenoth 
qodesh). All of these terms reflect the consecration element in 
them. There is no Hebrew word reserved just for "sacrifice" 
(Latin sacrificium) inclusive of both blood (animal) and non- 
blood (vegetable) offerings. The term qorban (cf. Mk. 7:11), 
while clearly inclusive, does not mean just altar gift (sacrifice), 
but since it does mean holy or cultic gift (including minerals 
such as gold, silver, wood) it is most often used for the five main 
offerings above. 

C. Leviticus 17:11 

The third and last general consideration beyond feasts and 
offerings must be dealt with, namely the meaning of sacrifice. 
What was the contemporary significance of this Israelite prac- 
tice? This question is logically prior to the procedure or ritual 
actions themselves (which follow), and is necessary for under- 
standing the sacrificial emphasis on blood. The blood is truly 
the key for gaining a genuinely Biblical orientation to the whole 
system of Biblical atonement. One is pressed to find a more 
helpful and beautiful passage for this than Leviticus 17:11. This 
verse is germane to knowing the Lord's own rationale for sac- 
rifice as He revealed it to Moses, and is therefore worthy of care- 
ful exegesis. It has three clauses which can literally be rendered 
as follows: 


a. For the life of the flesh is in the BLOOD. 

b. And I Myself have given IT to you upon the altar to make 
atonement for your lives, 

c. For it is the BLOOD by reason of the life that makes 
atonement ( Lev. 17:11). 

The immediate context (vss. 10-14) is the prohibition against the 
eating of blood. The predicate (comment) throughout verse 
eleven is the blood (here highlighted as BLOOD-IT-BLOOD), 
for specifically it is not to be eaten. But the reason for not eating 
blood is that it contains life (here highlighted as life-lives-life), 
the subject (topic) of the a-clause, with which "for your lives" of 
the b-clause is contrasted. Clearly this is vicarious life for lives, 
the life of animal flesh in the altar-shed blood which is vicari- 
ously, innocently, and symbolically atoning for your lives laden 
with impurity. The emphasis on blood in the sacrificial system 
is due to the fact that altar-shed blood is the very means 
of atonement for lives, but the ground (reason) is life itself which 
passes through the crisis of vicarious death. 8 

8 This translation and understanding of Lev. 17:11 is clearly sup- 
ported by the grammar of its clauses. The a-clause reads ki-nephesh hab- 
basar baddam hi. It is a nonverbal clause whose subject (topic) is nephesh 
(life) and whose predicate (comment) is baddam (in the blood) followed by 
the feminine subject enclitically resumed in hi. The word dam (blood) is 
masculine and serves as the antecedent to the objective pronoun in the fol- 
lowing clause. The b-clause reads vaani netattiv lakhem al-hammizbeah 
lekhapper al-naphshothekhem. It is a verbal clause with frontal emphatic 
personal pronoun ani (I Myself), and with masculine suffix pronoun -v 
(it) resuming the a-clause masculine antecedent dam (blood). The object of 
the infinitival phrase lekhapper al- (to make atonement for) is naphshothe- 
khem (your lives), and is in contrast with a-clause nephesh (life), which con- 
trast is unfortunately blurred for the reader by most translations: AV 1611, 
RV 1885, ASV 1901, RSV 1952, NAS 1963 unfortunately have "life . . . 
for your souls," but it is not obscured by the ancient versions, nor by some 
modern ones (French 1910 ame . . . pour vos ames, Dutch 1951 ziel . . . 
over uw zielen, JB 1966 life . . . for your lives). The c-clause reads ki- 
haddam hu bannephesh yekhapper. It is a cleft nonverbal clause with frontal 
predicate haddam (the blood) so marked by subjective enclitic hu which 
in turn relativizes (nominalizes) yekhapper to serve as the subjective noun 
phrase (that which makes atonement). The word bannephesh (by reason of 
the life) is a predicative adjunct of haddam, and is here correctly translated 
as such. What the c-clause is saying is this: "That which makes atonement 
is the blood by reason of the life which is in it)." Better still in the emphatic 
word order of the Hebrew, the c-clause is saying: "For it is the blood by 
reason of the life (which is in it)that makes atonement." This has been per- 
fectly translated by the modern German translation of Hans Bruns (1962): 
"denn das Blut ist es, das Suhne durch das (in ihm enthaltene) Leben 
bewirkt" (the parentheses are mine). Most modern versions have caught the 
essence of bannephesh with the phrase "by reason of the life," such as RV, 
ASV, RSV, NAS, Dutch 1951 (door middel van de ziel); the French (1910) 
also, but with the cleft slightly misplaced: "car c'est par I'ame que le sang 
fait I' expiation" (better would be *car c'est le sang par I'ame que fait 
V expiation). The AV, following the ancient versions, has missed the nuance 
by connecting bannephesh with yekhapper to give the rendering "for it is 


This vicarious understanding of the blood and its life accords 
very well with the gracious context of this legislation. God had 
saved His people from the tyranny of the demons of Egypt and 
had brought the children of Israel out with a strong hand in 
accordance with His covenant promises to the fathers. At Sinai 
He called them in covenant to be His holy nation in trust and 
obedience. He then revealed His standards for the sacrificial 
system which made possible the access of a sinner to this Holy 
God, and such a possibility was solely a provision of His coven- 
ant grace. The way to God through blood was provided by the 
grace of God and not by man, and is so indicated by the emphatic 
pronoun "I Myself" when He says in Lev. 17:11b, "I Myself have 
given it (the blood) to you upon the altar to make atonement for 
your lives." 

So much for the clear and general teaching of Lev. 17:11, 
but what is the exact meaning of the b-clause and c-clause ex- 
pression "make atonement" (kipper) ? This is more difficult to 

The oft-stated purpose of the sacrifices in Leviticus is 'to 
atone' {kipper, Lev. i.4, etc.). This verb may be explained 
in one of three ways: 'to cover', from the Arab, kafara; 'to 
wipe away', from the Akkadian kuppuru; 'to ransom by a 
substitute', from the Heb. noun koper. 9 

The cover-obliterate-ransom selection is not as difficult exegeti- 
cally as it is etymologically, although it is true that all three 
notions in the Old Testament are common in regard to sin. For 
example, the notion "to cover" is expressed in Psa. 32:1 as 
"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is cov- 
ered (kasa)," which verse is quoted in Rom. 4:7 (epikalupto). 
I Pet. 4:8 says that "love covers (kalupto) a multitude of sins." 
The notion "to obliterate" (wipe out, blot out) is also common, 
Isa. 44:22 being an example: "I have wiped out (maha) your 
transgressions like a thick cloud, and your sins like a heavy mist. 
Return to Me, for I have redeemed (gaal) you" (cf. Isa. 43:25). 
In Acts 3:19 the words of Peter are "Repent therefore and re- 
turn, that your sins may be wiped away (exaleipho) . . ." (cf. 
Col. 2:14). In Neh. 4:5 (Hebrew 3:37) the covering of iniquity 
and the blotting/wipping out of sin are used in parallelism (cf. 
Psa. 109:14, Pro v. 6:33). And then there is the notion "to ran- 
som," such as Hos. 13:14 which says, "I will ransom (pada) them 
from the power of Sheol; I will redeem (gaal) them from death." 

the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul" (and wrongly equating 
yekhapper be- "to make atonement with" and b-clause lekhapper al- "to 
make atonement for;" cf. the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English 
Lexicon, p. 498 a). As indicated, nearly everyone today prefers the rendering 
"by reason of the life (soul)" over the unidiomatic "for the life (soul)." 

9 R. J. Thompson, ibid., p. 1120. 


Jesus Himself gave His life as the ransom for men (Mt. 20:28 
lutron, I Tim. 2:6 antilutron; see the related apoluo "to redeem" 
and apolutrosis "redemption"). It seems that the word "to ran- 
som" (pada) emphasizes the idea of payment, and "to redeem" 
(gaal) has the additional notion of a personal relationship 
through kinsman deliverance. 

It would seem that of the common cover-obliterate-ransom 
images, "to atone" (kipper) comes closest to a ransom (kopher) , 
the third etymological option, especially in the case of Lev. 17:11 
with its rationale of life for lives. One may see this in the case 
of material goods donated "to make atonement for our lives" 
(lekhapper al-naphshothenu, Num. 31:50), to which should be 
compared the half -shekel of the sanctuary which an Israelite 
gave as "a ransom for his life" (kopher naphsho, Ex. 30:12), 
such "atonement money" (keseph hakkippurim) serving "to 
make atonement for your lives" (lekhapper al-naphshothekhem, 
vs. 16). If "to make atonement for" means most basically "to 
ransom," then the idea of substitution and propitiation (expia- 
tion, appeasement) are central. This is reflected in the Greek 
Septuagint translation of "to make atonement" in Lev. 17:11b 
by the verb "to propitiate" (exilaskomai) . The propitation idea 
is most basic to the New Testament doctrine of atonement (see 
the Bauer- Arndt-Gingrich Greek-English Lexicon, p. 376), as 
evidenced by hilaskomai "to propitiate, expiate" (Heb. 2:17), 
hilasmos "expiation, propitiation" (I Jn. 2:2, 4:10), and hilas- 
terion "expiation gift" (Rom. 3:25), "place of propitiation" 
(Heb. 9:5, the "mercy-seat," Luther's Gnadenstuhl) . 

The propitiating substitute nicely dovetails with the whole 
Old Testament system of vicarious substitution-representation 
(pars pro toto "the part for the whole"). This can be seen in 
both the first-born and the first fruits, and by the laying on of 
hands. The token portions of the blood offerings (blood and fat) 
belong here, as well as the azkara (token, "memorial") portion 
of the non-blood offerings. Animal life-death-blood-body for 
human life-death-blood-body find their ultimate vicarious sub- 
stitutionary expression in the divinely innocent life for lives — 
the Christ for His people. All the nuances of atonement point in 
the same direction — substitution. Its function is to remedy the 
situation of the exposure of sin before the holy gaze of God, and 
the corresponding alienation. The substitute takes the place of 
sin as ransom, thus appeasing the righteous wrath of God toward 
sin; the substitute covers sin from His sight; the substitute 
blots out sin, erasing the ordinances against us. 

Far beyond a general homage or thanksgiving, we see that 
the meaning of sacrifice is atonement, the main end of whose 
holy gifts is expiation. The three ends of sacrifice are expiation, 
consecration and celebration, and will be developed somewhat 
fully in the next section on Sacrificial Procedure. We have seen 


here that sin makes expiation necessary. Consecration, however, 
does not find its base in sin, it being the natural activity of sin- 
less creatures (such as man before the fall). But this severely 
externalized form of consecration may be the result of sin. This 
is but one facet of the tremendous teaching function of the law 
of God. 

DDE. Sacrificial Procedure: Three Categories and the Six 
Ritual Acts 


The outline for this somewhat involved section, which sub- 
sumes the six sacrificial ritual acts under three ceremonial cate- 
gories, is as follows: 

A. Expiation (Crisis Experience) 

1. Presentation (of the beast) 

2. Leaning (on the beast's head) 

3. Slaughter (of the beast) 

4. Manipulation (of the beast's blood) 

B. Consecration (Changing Experience) 

5. Sublimation (of the corpse) 

C. Celebration (Sharing Experience) 

6. Meal (communion-feasting on the offerings) 

A. Expiation (Crisis Experience) 

1. Presentation. Here the offerer presents, i.e. "brings 
near" (hiqriv), or "brings" (hevi), or simply 
"makes" (asa) his offering of a clean beast. 

Only the blood (animal) sacrifices could be used for expia- 
tion, due, of course, to the presence of blood in them, but they 
were also used for consecration. The non-blood (vegetable) sacri- 
fices functioned for consecration alone. In the blood (animal) 
sacrifice the two ideas of expiation and consecration found joint 
expression, and the intimate union between the two is also 
brought out in the rule that no non-blood sacrifice could be 
brought except on the basis of a preceding blood sacrifice. There 
appears to have been only one exception to this rule, namely, 
extreme poverty: in the trespass offering a lamb or goat was to 
be presented, but if poor then two birds, and in the case of ex- 
treme poverty just fine flour (Lev. 5:11). It is not that any of 
the bloodless sacrifices negated the idea of expiation, but rather 
they presupposed it, and in this case of extreme poverty God 
graciously condescends in mercy to reckon it so. The book of 
Hebrews takes account of an exception to the rule, apparently 
this one, when it says, "And according to the Law, one may al- 
most (schedon) say, all things are cleansed with blood, and with- 
out shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Heb. 9:22). 


All of the animals had to be ritually pure, ceremonially 
clean. But not all that was clean was allowed for sacrifice. From 
the animal kingdom: oxen, sheep, goats and pigeons. From the 
vegetable kingdom : grain, wine and oils. Together they represent 
the entirety of the offerer's life in consecration to the Lord, both 
what sustained the life of the offerer, and what the toil of his 
life produced. With these specific clean things he had a familiar 
"biotic rapport," perhaps thus qualifying them for sacrifice to 
serve as his double, representing in a vital substitutionary way 
the totality of his life. Sacrifices may be characterized as the 
gift of life to God. 

Parenthetically, the observation perhaps should be made 
that the vegetable offerings, which presuppose the blood offer- 
ings, are subordinate to them, but not inferior. Just as Christ is 
subordinate (but not inferior) to the Father, His Coequal, and 
just as a woman is created to be subordinate (but not inferior) 
to her coequal man (Gen. 1:27), so, in a sense, the vegetable 
offerings are not inferior to the blood offerings, but find their 
proper office, function and role in being subsequent to the shed- 
ding of blood which, in the realm of sin, must be prior. Perhaps 
this is the best explanation of the Cain and Abel story. Cain's 
faithlessness is not to be proved by a vegetable offering reckoned 
as if inferior. Could it be that Cain was jealous of the sequence ? 
Could it be that he wanted, in untypological fashion, to be first? 
Would a man who is not thinking the thoughts of God willingly 
yield in love and truth priority to a coequal? The fear of the 
Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but pride goes before a fall. 

Finally, one question remains in regard to the presentation 
of a clean beast. How can the perfectly normal and flawless 
animal figure as a double (substitute) for a sinner? It is simply, 
yet profoundly, that God graciously reckons it to be so in a 
symbolico-vicarious way. He substitutes for the imperfect offerer 
the perfect animal-substitute, but not groundlessly, for all this 
is because of its typological union with Christ, Whom it fore- 
shadows. We have been redeemed "with precious blood, as of a 
lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ" (I Pet. 

2. Leaning. The offerer lays his hand(s), literally 
leans (samakh) his hand(s), upon the head of the 

It appears that this action of the offerer was an act of faith, 
confession and transfer, signifying the transfer of the sin and 
its death penalty to the animal substitute. All of the passages 
refer to bloody offerings (for Leviticus see 1:4, 3:2, 4:4, 15, 24, 
29, 33), the (bloodless) vegetable offerings never receiving this 
symbolic action of laying on of hands. This very definitely 


strengthens the idea of transfer, for bloodless offerings were 
not expiatory, being unsuitable for carrying away sin. Contrary 
to the Roman Catholic position (cf. Roland deVaux), the laying 
on of hands did not signify mere identification, ownership, or 
donation (cf. the mass). The vegetable offerings were just as 
much "owned and donated," yet they did not receive this ritual 
act of the laying on of hands. From the analogy of other 
occasions where the laying on of hands symbolized the transfer 
of blessing or curse from one person to another (e.g. Gen. 48: 
13-14, Lev. 24:14, Num. 8:10, 27:18-20, Deut. 34:9), the case 
for transfer with regard to animals is strengthened. 

Perhaps the strongest case for transfer can be made from 
Lev. 16:21, even though the verse refers to the live scapegoat 
(azazel-goat) of the day of atonement. Below is Lev. 16:21-22, 
the expressions most significant for this study being underlined, 
or even transliterated in parentheses. 

(21) Then Aaron shall lay (samakh) both of his hands on 
the head of the live goat, and confess (hithwadda) over it all 
the iniquities of the sons of Israel, and all their transgressions 
in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay (nathan) them 
on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness 
by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. (22) And 
the goat shall bear (nasa) on itself all their iniquities to a 
solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness 
(Lev. 16:21-22). 

While the other goat, mentioned earlier in the chapter and slain 
as a sin offering, symbolized the transfer of sin and its death 
penalty, the live scapegoat of verses 21 and 22 symbolized the 
transfer of sin and its visible removal away from the presence 
of the Lord and His people. Parenthetically, it can be noted here 
that removal of sin is further symbolized by the fact that in 
specific cases certain portions of the sin offering were taken 
outside the camp and burned (Lev. 4:12, 21). "Therefore Jesus 
also . . . suffered outside the gate," and bearing His reproach 
we "go out to Him outside the camp" (see Heb. 13:11-13). 

So here we have the Biblical idea of imputation, whereby 
God reckons or ascribes a transfer — a vicarious situation. Again, 
how can the life blood of an animal be reckoned as a double for 
the believer? It is imputed to be so. Why would God so reckon 
it? Totally because of the grace and merits of Christ here fore- 
shadowed, God's lamb, our Passover. 

3. Slaughter. The offerer then slays (shahat) the 

beast on the altar. 

The offerer, not the priest, slays the beast at the altar, 
which is in fact a house of God (cf. Bethel), a tabernacle in min- 
iature. Hence it is described as the place where God records His 


name and meets with His people, blessing them with His pres- 
ence (Ex. 20:24). Here the holy gaze of God and the sin of man 
are covenantally covered by the satisfactory and atoning blood 
(Ex. 24:6). The laws about the tabernacle in the closing chapters 
of Exodus are immediately followed by the altar-theology of the 
opening chapters of Leviticus, the altar being the microcosmic 
tabernacle of God's soteric Lordship. 

The word "altar" (mizbeah) means "the place of slaughter." 
Altar-death (slaughter) is not merely the means to get blood 
and fat, but is in fact the penalty itself. This fact is more clearly 
brought out in other examples, such as breaking the neck of the 
heifer as expiation for an unknown murderer's crime (Deut. 
21:4), and Moses offering his life in the place of his covenantally 
wayward people (Ex. 32:32). 

4. Manipulation. The priest manipulates the blood by 
tossing (zaraq) it against the sides of the altar, or 
by taking (laqah) some of it, dipping (taval) 
his fingertips into it, and putting (nathan) it on 
some objects, while sprinkling (hizza) it on others. 
The remainder of the blood may be simply poured 
(shaphakh, yatsaq) or (with fowl) drained (matsa) 
into the altar. 

Whereas it was the offerer himself who performed the three 
ritual acts of presentation, leaning, and slaughter, the above act 
of manipulation of the blood was performed by the priests, who 
alone handled the blood in various ways and places. The sheer 
bulk of the Levitical terminology shows how large this liturgical 
action looms in the Mosaic books. The key passage on the role of 
blood is Lev. 17:11, which has already been discussed under 
General Considerations, and, as indicated there, life works atone- 
ment for life through the altar-shedding of blood, which serves 
to ransom-cover-obliterate sin and death from the presence of 
God. Blood in its normal state does not expiate. The only expia- 
tory blood is that which has passed through the crisis of altar- 
death. "And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things 
are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is 
no forgiveness" (Heb. 9:22). Blood is a symbol of life, life de- 
parting, death, and cleansing (cf. Lev. 16:30). So with manipu- 
lation of blood the Mosaic expiation paradigm is complete: 
BLOOD = LIFE (presentation of guiltless) + SIN (hands 
transfer-impute guilt) -f- DEATH (the slaughter penalty) 4- 
CLEANSING (restoration of guilty). This collocation is Mes- 
sianic as well: 

But God demonstrates His own love (LIFE) toward us, in 
that while we were yet sinners (SIN), Christ died (DEATH) 
for us. Much more then, having been justified (CLEANS- 


ING) by His blood (BLOOD is the life-symbol, the life- 
paradigm), we shall be saved (CLEANSING) from the 
wrath (DEATH as SIN'S wage) of God through Him (LIFE) 
Rom. 5:8-9). 

Before leaving the subject of blood, a practical word of 
caution to Christians might be in order. The large role of blood 
and substitutionary atonement should serve to guard against 
nonsubstitutionary and humanistic views of atonement, and 
views which fail to reckon with the seriousness of sin. We must 
not be ashamed of the blood of Christ as God's only way. We 
should be ashamed not of the blood but of our sin, and the hor- 
rible cost of our sin in God's plan of redemption. On the other 
hand, Bible believing Christians who emphasize the message of 
being washed in the blood of the Lamb of Calvary should not 
attribute magical powers to the blood itself. With all the em- 
phasis on blood one must be aware that, in a technical sense, it 
is not, per se, the blood of Christ that saves us, but rather His 
life, life which has vicariously undergone the crisis of death, 
death at the bloody altar of Golgotha. 

With presentation, leaning, slaughter and manipulation the 
Levitical expiation category is complete. 

B. Consecration (Changing Experience) 

As stated in the General Considerations, the three cere- 
monial categories which serve to integrate the bewildering mass 
of redemptive details are expiation, consecration and celebration. 
Again, expiation (payment) was the main end of the sacrificial 
system, synthesizing four of the six ritual acts. Moving from 
the crisis experience of expiation (propitiation) we now turn to 
the changing experience of consecration (dedication). Consecra- 
tion is the category of complete commitment or devotion to God, 
and for this there is only one action in the sacrificial ritual that 
is exclusively consecratory, namely the fifth ritual act — 

5. Sublimation. The priest "burns" (hiqtir) certain 
animals, parts and organs of animals, and certain 
grains upon the altar for "a sweet-smelling aroma 
to the Lord" (reah nihoah ladonay). 

The verb descriptive of burning at the altar is everywhere 
hiqtir, meaning "to make sacrificial smoke or incense, to fum- 
igate." In modern chemical terminology the word would be "to 
sublimate," or slowly turn a solid substance into a gas. The point 
here is that the burning at the altar is not the rapid destructive 
burning (saraph), but the slow, incense-producing kind (hiqtir), 
reducing the offering to a finer substance. This would be true 
both of the burnt offering (ola) which was burnt as a whole 


(kalil), and of portions of all other offerings. Of course, the 
purpose of sublimation, burning of the sublimating kind, was to 
yield a sweet aroma of delight to Yahweh. By contrast, in the 
case of an offering whose parts are burned outside the camp 
(removal of sin), the regular verb for rapid destructive burning 
(saraph) is used (e.g. Lev. 4:12, cf. 7:17). 

All of the burning was an act of consecration, as is shown 
by the fact that the vegetable offering, which was not expiatory 
(because bloodless), underwent burning in exactly the same 
manner as the animal offering. In fact, all offerings enter this 
consecration category in that all offerings involved some burning 
on the altar, and could therefore be called ishe, "an offering by 
fire" (e.g. Lev. 1:9, 2:11). 

Just as expiation was substitutionary, so too consecration. 
The commitment of the animal or grain victim to the altar- 
flames was total. Christ is our substitutionary consecration. As 
Eph. 5:2 says: "Walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and 
gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a 
fragrant aroma." 

C. Celebration (Sharing Experience) 

The third and final category of sacrificial ritual acts is 
celebration, the sharing experience of reconciliation- joy. While 
celebration has lately loomed large in innovative worship, it is 
sadly neglected in the secondary literature on Leviticus and Old 
Testament sacrificial worship. Expiation is there rightly stressed, 
followed by a discussion of the consecration aspect. We suggest 
that celebration be added, as it is clearly taught by the sixth and 
final ritual act, the meal of holy communion-feasting. 

6. Meal. The offerer "eats" (akhal) the sacrificial 
meal of peace offerings (shelamim) with the cultic 
personnel, being the guest of God in holy communion. 

This final meal-stage of the ritual of sacrifice is unique to 
the peace offerings (Lev. 7:11-18, Deut. 12:13-19, 14:26, 16:10- 
11, 26:10-11, 27:7), offerings which express the bond of fidelity 
and covenantal well-being. (Compare the Passover of Exodus 
12 and Deuteronomy 16, which is an annual species of peace- 
offering meal eaten in redemption fellowship, celebrating deliver- 
ance from Satan's tyranny in Egypt.) The offerer celebrates 
positive favor and blessing with God in the joy of forgiveness. 
The peace-offering meal is a gift of Yahweh, for He, not the 
offerer, ordains the meal at His house, the tabernacle-temple. 
Yahweh is the Host, as in the case of His meal with the nobles 
of Israel in the covenant ratification ceremony on Mount Sinai 
(Exodus 24, especially vs. 5 with "peace offerings," and vs. 11 
with ". . . they beheld God, and they ate and drank"). The wor- 


shipper was the guest of Yahweh, sharing in His altar, partaking 
of His table. Such is also confirmed by the apostle Paul who 
speaks of the nation of Israel which ate sacrifices as being 
sharers in the altar, partaking of the table of the Lord (I Cor. 
10:18-21), and contrasts all other sacrificial "worship" as 
sacrificing to demons. (For sacrificial communion with demons, 
see Ex. 34:15.) 

Predictably, any celebration which is "in Christ," pre- 
supposing altar-shed blood, is substitutionary celebration. Christ 
is not only specifically our Passover (I Cor. 5:7), but also more 
generally is our Peace Offering. This is probably expressed by 
the apostle in Eph. 2:13-14: 

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have 
been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is 
our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down 
the barrier of the dividing wall, . . . 

The two groups, the Jews and the Gentiles in Christ, have been 
reconciled to each other and to God, for the Gentiles, formerly 
"alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to 
the covenants of promise" (vs. 12), have now been brought near 
to God by the blood of Christ our peace. There seems to be a 
double wordplay here. The expression "brought near" seems to 
allude to both reconciliation of those afar off, and to the Hebrew 
sacrificial expression (hiqriv) "to bring near, present sacrifice," 
now through the blood of Christ. The expression "our peace" 
(he eirene hemon) seems to allude to both peaceful restoration, 
and to the Old Testament peace offering (zevah shelamim, LXX 
thusia soteriou, "offering of well-being, reconciliation," both 
private blessing and corporate harmony) , now through the blood 
of Christ. The alienation has been removed, for Christ Our Peace 
removes the holy gaze of an offended God. Truly "the wages of 
sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus 
our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). 

IV. Significance of Ritual Acts: Three Fulfillment Aspects 

The three basic Biblical ceremonial-procedural categories 
of Old Testament sacrifice — expiation, consecration, and cele- 
bration — have been discussed, and we now turn to draw out the 
New Testament ramifications of these by seeing all three of the 
above categories from each of three additional fulfillment as- 
pects — objective, subjective, and ceremonial. The first aspect to 
be considered by way of New Testament application is the 
objective-central, namely Christ Himself. The second aspect is 
the subjective-individual, which is Christ within the Christian. 
The third and final aspect of New Testament ramifications is 
the ceremonial-corporate, being Christ in the Christian Cere- 
monies (recurrent ceremonial worship). The rituals to be con- 


sidered are the recurrent Christian rituals of Holy Communion 
(Eucharist, Pedilavium, Agape), omitting in this study the 
non-recurrent ("once for all") ritual continuum of circumcision- 
baptism. Special emphasis will be given to clarifying the sig- 
nificance of the less frequently discussed ceremonial washing of 
feet (Pedilavium) and the love-feast (Agape) . Plentiful attesta- 
tion to the sacrificial language of the New Testament will now 
be given and highlighted, but is not intended to be exhaustive. 
The New Testament is very rich in sacrificial quotations, 
allusions and terms which relate to these categories and aspects. 

A. Objective-Central Aspect: Christ 

1. Expiation (Crisis-Blood): The Death of Christ 

Christ is our expiation, and Scriptural application at this 
point is extremely rich. It was during the Passover holiday 
(Mt. 26:2, Lk. 22:15, Jn. 13:1) that Jesus was crucified as the 
expiation for the sins of His people. While the priests were caring 
for the Jerusalem temple, Jesus offered His own flesh for sin, 
and the temple veil guarding the Holy of Holies was torn from 
top to bottom (Mt. 27:51, Mk. 15:38, Lk. 23:45). This is the new, 
living way, the veil of His flesh (Heb. 10:20). Sanctifying power 
now comes through the offering of the body of Jesus (Heb. 
10:10). He bore our sins in His own body on the cross (I Pet. 2: 
24), whose flesh is bread from heaven (Jn. 6:51). Christ died 
for the ungodly (Rom. 5:6), who have now been reconciled to 
God by His death (Rom. 5:10). God delivered up His own Son 
for us all (Rom. 8:32), and yet He willingly offered up Himself 
(Heb. 7:27, 9:26, 28, I Jn. 3:16), an offering without blemish 
(Heb. 9:14), which He, being faithful High Priest, offered once 
as the one sacrifice for sins (Heb. 10:12, 14, I Pet. 3:18). This 
expiatory offering is none other than the Lamb of God (Jn. 1: 
29, 36), who as victorious Lord-Lamb is both the temple and its 
lamp (Rev. 21:22-23). This unblemished Lamb made atonement 
by means of His own precious blood (I Pet. 1:19). Indeed, Christ 
purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28), for it 
is He who says, "This is my blood of the covenant" (Mt. 26:28, 
Mk. 14:24, Lk. 22:20, I Cor. 11:25, Heb. 13:20). It is through 
His own blood that He entered the Holy Place once for all (Heb. 
9:12, 10:19), which blood-sprinkling speaks of better things than 
Abel (Heb. 12:24). In His blood He suffered outside the gate 
(Heb. 13:12), yet the blood of His cross (Col. 1:20) our Peace, 
has brought us near to God (Eph. 2:13-14), for we have been 
purchased for God by His blood (Rev. 5:9). His blood is our 
propitiation (Rom. 3:25, Heb. 2:17, I Jn. 4:10), and by it we 
have been released from our sins (Rev. 1:5). It is difficult to 
say it more concisely than has the apostle in II Cor. 5:21 by say- 


ing, "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, 
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." 

2. Consecration (Changing-Fire) : The Life of Christ 

In addition to the expiatory (body-) blood of Christ, His 
(body-) life is also our consecration. Scripture speaks of both 
his active and passive obedience. Having been reconciled through 
His death, much more we shall be saved by His life (Rom. 
5:10). We are commanded to walk in love just as Christ has 
loved us, and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice 
to God as a fragrant aroma (Eph. 5:2). This shows that Christ's 
life of love, even unto death, is the sweet savor of a sublimating 
sacrifice, on fire and well-pleasing in consecration to God. Christ 
is a faithful and compassionate high priest whose consecration 
is complete, even being tempted (yet without sin) in that which 
He suffered (Heb. 2:18). Christ is our Passover, the consecrated 
unleavened bread of sincerity and truth which has been sacrificed 
(I Cor. 5:6-8). Perhaps the ultimate and most scandalous 
servanthood of Christ is in the washing of His servants' feet 
(Jn. 13:5, 7-8, 12, 14-15). He washed, but was not washed by 
any, since He needed no cleansing from sin. He loved His own 
and loved them to the end (Jn. 13:1). He is Lord, Teacher and 
Servant (vss. 13-16) who with basin and towel challenges all 
human notions of consecration, service and greatness. 

3. Celebration (Sharing-Meal) : The Supper of Christ 

Christ is also our Celebration. The blessed marriage supper 
toward which all history presses is the marriage supper of the 
Lamb (Rev. 19:9). Such consummation celebration will be when 
His joy is full. His last supper in the upper room was a type of 
it — a prophetic action both sacramental and typical, participa- 
ting in both "the already" and "the not yet." Jesus said that He 
would not objectively celebrate it with them again until His 
return, not drinking of the fruit of the vine again until He drinks 
it new with us in the kingdom of God (Mt. 26:29, Mk. 14:25, 
Lk. 22:17-18), and not eating the Passover again until it is ful- 
filled in the kingdom of God (Lk. 22:16). At the marriage of 
the Lamb, the sharing experience of celebration-feasting will 
find exhaustive expression, and so shall we ever be with the Lord, 
eating and drinking at His table in His kingdom (Lk. 22:30, Mt. 
8:11; cf. Ex. 24:11). 

B. Subjective-Individual Aspect: Christ within 
the Christian 

Although it is the active and passive obedience of the 
Christian that is in view here (the subjective-individual aspect) , 
it is the Christian conforming to the image of God in Christ 


through the power of the Holy Spirit (Christ within the Chris- 
tian). While we think, do, and say things which relate to the 
categories of expiation, consecration, and celebration, we are 
recipients and agents of these categories. Without Him we can 
do nothing (Jn. 15:5). This "nothing" not only excludes our 
doing anything relating to expiation, obvious to most, but also 
anything consecratory or celebrative! For it is not we that live, 
but Christ lives in us (cf. Gal. 2:20), and therefore we must 
surely experience all three of these categories in Him, because 
He wants us to conform to His image, and He has willed to ex- 
perience them anew in us. 

1. Expiation (Crisis-Blood) : Conversion 

Essentially, the subjective-individual aspect of expiation is 
the Christian's conversion-crisis (die to sin; redeemed), and that 
of consecration is his sanctification-changing (live to righteous- 
ness; growing). There is a lot of sacrificial language in the New 
Testament for these aspects also. While they are inextricably 
related to one another in the Bible, the Bible at time highlights 
one or the other. We are recipients and agents of all three sacri- 
ficial categories, but with regard to expiation alone, we are pas- 
sively so. For to the Lord Jesus expiation alone is wholly active, 
and for His own it alone is wholly passive. We can do nothing 
expiatory. Jesus paid it all. 

As recipients of Christ's expiation, the Scriptures declare 
that we have been justified by His blood (Rom. 5:9). He Him- 
self is the propitiation of our sins (I Jn. 2:2). We have redemp- 
tion through blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according 
to the riches of His grace (Eph. 1:7), having been redeemed 
with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless 
(I Pet. 1:18-19). We have been sanctified through the offering 
of the body of Christ once for all (Heb. 10:10, cf. vs. 29), and 
so also by His own blood (Heb. 13:12), having our hearts 
sprinkled clean from an evil conscience (Heb. 10:22). We have 
been foreknown by the Father, set apart by the Spirit for 
obedience to Christ, by whose blood we have been sprinkled 
(I Pet. 1:2). For Christ died for sins once for all, the just for 
the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God (I Pet. 3:18). 
Yes we, afar off, have been brought near by the blood of Christ, 
our Peace (Eph. 2:13-14). We have both died and risen with 
Christ, and are therefore dead to the greed of the world, which 
is essentially idolatry (Col. 3:1-3). Through the cross, "the world 
has been crucified to me and I to the world" (Gal. 6:14). 

2. Consecration (Changing-Fire) : Sanctification 

Christ is both our expiation and consecration as is demon- 
strated by their frequent collocation in Scripture. We have been 


reconciled by His death, and shall be saved by His life (Rom. 
5:10, Col. 1:22). The blood of Christ cleanses the conscience from 
dead works to serve the living God (Heb. 9:14, I Jn. 1:7). We 
have been healed by the wounds of Christ, who bore our sins in 
His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to right- 
eousness (I Pet. 2:24). It is He "who gave Himself for us that 
He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for 
Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds" 
(Tit. 2:14). Having released us from our sins by His blood, He 
has made us priests to His God and Father (Rev. 1:5-6). We 
also have been made the unleavened bread of God, which con- 
strains us to clean out any remaining old or renewed leaven, that 
we might celebrate the feast of unleavened bread through con- 
secration, not with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but 
with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (I Cor. 5:6-8). 
How truly rich this language is! Yet in the imitation of Christ, 
how encompassing also this consecration can be, by not loving 
one's life even to death, but overcoming every foe through the 
blood of the Lamb (Rev. 12:11). "By this we know love, that 
He laid down His life for us ; and we ought to lay down our lives 
for the brethren" (I Jn. 3:16). 

When coming to the verses which speak exclusively (or 
almost so) about subjective-individual consecration, again in 
the language of sacrificial terminology, one is impressed again 
how large this theme looms in the New Testament, especially 
in the epistles. Christ Himself spoke of the "cross" of a Chris- 
tian, and how he must deny himself, take up his own cross and 
follow the Lord (Mt. 10:38, 16:24, Mk. 8:34, Lk. 14:27), even 
daily (Lk. 9:23). We are to present our bodies as a living and 
holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, being our spiritual service of 
worship (Rom. 12:1). We are as living stones, being built up as 
a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual 
sacrifices acceptable to God (I Pet. 2:5), even specifically a 
royal priesthood for proclaiming His excellencies (I Pet. 2:9). 
These "spiritual sacrifices" (pneumatikai thusiai) which we, in 
Christ, offer up to God are the many and varied aspects of 
(His-our) consecration, such as the list in Hebrews 13, where 
we are commanded to go out to Him, outside the camp, bearing 
His reproach (Heb. 13:13), and where then follows the sacrificial 
list of first praise (cf. 12:28, Psa. 119:108, Hos. 14:2), and then 
doing good and sharing (cf. Mt. 9:13, 12:7, Mk. 12:33) : 

Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of 
praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips that give thanks 
to His name. And do not neglect doing good and sharing; 
for with such sacrifices God is pleased (Heb. 13:15-16). 

The gift sent to the apostle Paul by the believers of Philippi was 
a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God 


(Phil. 4:18). Paul himself was ministering as a priest the gospel 
of God so that his offering of the Gentiles might become accep- 
table (Rom. 15:16). Not only are those won to Christ a sweet 
offering to God, but the knowledge of Christ itself, and we 
through whom it is manifested in mission, are also a sweet aroma, 
for as Paul says, God "manifests through us the sweet aroma 
of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance 
of Christ to God . . ." (II Cor. 2:14-15). Paul viewed this as His 
calling and joyful mission, even if he were to be "poured out as 
a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith" 
(Phil. 2:17). Paul told Timothy that his life was already being 
poured out as a drink offering (II Tim. 4:6). He always carried 
about in his body the dying of Jesus that the life of Jesus also 
might be manifested in his body (II Cor. 4:10). He bore in his 
body even the consecratory brand-marks of Jesus' own conse- 
cration (Gal. 6:17). 

Among the "spiritual sacrifices" which have been enum- 
erated as manifestations of our subjective-individual consecra- 
tion to the Lord are the spiritual sacrifice of service, of right- 
eousness, of purification, of zeal for good works, of priestly 
service, of sincerity, of truth, of martyrdom, of self-denial, of 
obedience, of worship, of proclamation, of praise, of doing 
good, of sharing, of giving, of converts won by us, of knowledge 
spread by us, of faith-service, of our mission, of our life and 

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, . . . 
work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is 
God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His 
good pleasure (Phil. 2:12-13). 

3. Celebration (Sharing-Meal) : Communion Joy 

Finally, Christ is also our celebration, even in its subjective- 
individual aspect. What is in view here is the human participant's 
joy in Holy Communion, the blessing of a sacrificial meal, the 
sharing experience of covenantal feasting. When God had given 
the Ten Commandments, He further gave instructions for the 
altar, including peace offerings, and promised His sacramental 
presence by saying, "I will come to you and bless you" (Ex. 20: 
24) . After the book of the covenant had been given, the covenant 
was ratified by communion meal on Mount Sinai with Yahweh 
as Host, and the nobles of Israel as His guests, "and they beheld 
God, and they ate and drank" (Ex. 24:11, cf. the peace offerings 
of vs. 5). As has been earlier stated, within the regular sacri- 
ficial system the peace offerings could be eaten by the worshipper 
with the cultic personnel, celebrating the joy of sins forgiven 
(Lev. 7:11-18). The exhortations of Deuteronomy frequently 
enjoin great rejoicing at these sacrificial meals with the refrain, 


"You shall rejoice before the Lord your God" (Deut. 12:12, 18, 
16:11, 26:11, 27:7; cf. the peace offerings of Deut. 12:11, 17, 
16:10). In regard to eating the second tithe and firstlings at the 
sanctuary, the Lord enjoins that "there you shall eat in the pres- 
ence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household" 
(Deut. 14:26), and on occasions, in addition to the offerer, his 
household and the Levite, joining the feast are the alien, the 
orphan, and the widow (Deut. 12:12, 18, 14:29, 16:11, 26:12). 
These sacrificial meals furnished both an occasion and an object 
of rejoicing before the Lord. Those who joyfully ate these sac- 
rifices were "sharers in the altar" (I Cor. 10:18). 

The Lord Jesus at His last supper, in spite of its sorrowful 
circumstances, maintained the joy of covenant meal and fellow- 
ship. He had an earnest desire to eat that Passover with them 
before He suffered (Lk. 22:15-16). He gave thanks for the cup 
in the meal just before the Eucharist proper (Lk. 22:17). He 
displayed the spirit of thankfulness when he gave thanks for 
the bread of the Eucharist (Lk. 22:19). He blessed that bread 
(Mt. 26:26, Mk. 14:22, I Cor. 11:24, cf. Lk. 24:30), and gave 
thanks for the subsequent cup (Mt. 26:27, Mk. 14:23). He urged 
them to take this and to share it among themselves Lk. 22:17). 
In the spirit of Biblical praise they concluded by singing a hymn, 
the sacrifice of their lips, exalting God's goodness and its conse- 
quent blessings (Mt. 26:30, Mk. 14:26). The inimitable manner 
with which Jesus performed these joyful actions, including His 
deeply-felt blessing of the Father, no doubt caused Him to be 
recognized at the point of His breaking the bread by the men 
who were on the way to Emmaus (Lk. 24:30, 35). 

Joy in the Holy Spirit characterized the early church at 
meal together. They went breaking bread from house to house, 
taking their meals together "with gladness and sincerity of 
heart" (Acts 2:46). Since the early church met in private homes 
(e.g. Philemon 2), the Eucharist easily continued in the context 
of a fellowship meal. They met together for the purpose of 
eating the Lord's Supper (cf. I Cor. 11:20), a love-feast (Agape) 
in Jesus Christ the Savior (Jude 12). It was a time of thankful- 
ness (I Cor. 10:30), sharing in the body (bread) and blood (cup) 
of Christ (vs. 16), and in unifying oneness (vs. 17). When they 
in the imitation of Christ engaged in the washing of feet, their 
blessing must have increased through service and sharing, for 
Jesus said knowing these things they would be blessed if they 
did them (Jn. 13:17). Above all, through these meals they were 
proclaiming the Lord's death until He comes again (I Cor. 11: 
26). Then communion joy will be complete, when we eat and 
drink at His table in His kingdom (Lk. 22:30). "Blessed are 
those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb" 
(Rev. 19:9). Then we will go on from regeneration and sancti- 
fication unto glorification, from glory to greater glory, entering 


into the joy of our Lord, the very joy which was set before Him 
who endured the cross, and is at the right hand of the throne 
of God (Heb. 12:2). 

C. Ceremonial-Corporate Aspect: Christ in the 
Christian Ceremonies 

The question at hand is to determine what are the New 
Testament ceremonial or ritual reflexes to the Old Testament 
ceremonial categories of expiation, consecration and celebration. 
From these categories, as we have seen, flowed the six sacrificial 
ritual acts of presentation, leaning, slaughter and manipulation; 
sublimation; and meal. In terms of fulfillment aspects, all three 
of these categories have already been discussed both from their 
objective and subjective aspects in New Testament fulfillment, 
but not from the aspect of ceremonial fulfillment. In other words, 
our task now is to determine what New Testament rituals cor- 
respond to expiation, consecration, and celebration. 

1. Expiation (Crisis-Blood) : Eucharist 

The New Testament ceremonial reflex to expiation is, with- 
out question, the Eucharist. The body and blood of the innocent 
Victim passing through the crisis experience of death on the 
altar of Golgotha is powerfully memorialized by the (unleavened) 
bread and the (red) wine of the Holy Communion service. 

Some of the names of this sacrament are "Eucharist" 
(eucharistia, "thanksgiving"), "Communion" (koinonia), "the 
bread and the cup of blessing" (eulogia) , or "the bread and cup 
of thanksgiving" (eucharistia), so indicated by I Cor. 10:16 as 
follows: "The cup of blessing (eulogia) which we bless, is it not 
the communion (koinonia) of the blood of Christ? The bread 
which we break, is it not the communion (koinonia) of the body 
of Christ?" The variant Greek reading here for "blessing" 
(eulogia) is "thanksgiving" (eucharistia). The identity of 
"blessing" and "thanksgiving" stems from the Greek attempt 
to translate the Hebrew (and Aramaic) term "bless/blessing" 
(berakh/berakha) , which means to bless God for something, 
i.e. to return thanks. The term "communion" (koinonia) means 
"sharing, participation, fellowship," having things in common 
(cf. koine, the common Greek). The reference in Acts 2:42 to 
the "breaking of the loaf" (ho artos, so also in I Cor. 10:16) 
probably refers to the Eucharist as well. 

The Eucharist is, above all, a memorial of atonement, recall- 
ing the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, "Do this in 
remembrance of Me" (Lk. 22:19, I Cor. 11:24-25). We are pro- 
claiming our Lord's past death until He comes again (I Cor. 11: 
26). It is at once a memorial (of the past), a sacrament (pres- 
ently realized eschatology) , and a type (futuristic action) of our 


union with each other and with Christ, "for we all partake of 
one bread (I Cor. 10:17), "a sharing in the body of Christ" (vs. 
16). We remember "Christ our Passover" (I Cor. 5:7), just as 
Israel was commanded to observe the Passover feast memori- 
alizing the deliverance from Egypt (Deut. 16:3; cf. Jer. 16: 

The Eucharist is the consummation of all strands of cov- 
enant meal: (1) the annual family Passover in Exodus 12, (2) 
the covenant ratification meal of the elders in Exodus 24, now in 
the New Covenant of His blood with His disciples, (3) the peace- 
offering meal of communion between the laity and priests in 
Leviticus 7 celebrating the joy of forgiveness in covenant 
renewal and affirmation (so also Deut. 12, 14, and 16), eating 
the sacrifices as sharers in the altar (I Cor. 10:18), and possibly 
(4) a common fellowship meal (havura) of a small group of 
friends (haverim) in the faith, meeting for the uncommon 
purpose of sanctifying the law of God in their hearts, and 
celebrating as sacred all the social occasions which give expres- 
sion to it. 10 Not only do all these sacrificial meals adumbrate 
the Last Supper, but so too does the (pot of) manna, the bread 
from heaven, which symbolizes the flesh of Christ, the living 
bread from heaven (Jn. 6:49-51), of which the bread of the 
Eucharist is the emblem. The same too may be said of the show- 
bread of the priests in the tabernacle-temple, the priesthood of 
all believers now feeding on this divine provision. 

Now what has been said about these meals, manna and 
showbread with regard to the Eucharist may also be affirmed 
of the love-feast (the Agape meal) , but with a different emphasis 
and role. Both Eucharist and Agape hark back to all of these, 
especially the Passover (see the discussion below of the Agape), 
but whereas the Eucharist maximizes on the expiatory category 
of Paschal body and blood for the atonement received, thus 
highlighting the covenantal aspects of ratification and renewal, 
the love-feast, on the other hand, emphasizes the celebrative 
category of Paschal body and blood for the atonement given, 
thus highlighting the covenantal aspects of sharing and fellow- 
ship. The longer and fuller activity of the Agape meal sustains 
the setting of covenant feasting. Perhaps one of the many 
reasons Eucharistic doctrine grew in importance to being almost 
a magical rite in medieval thought was due to losing its original 
setting of a meal of which it was the climaxing final act. The 

10 For this last kind of fellowship meal, including the Kiddush (the 
fellowship supper ushering in the Sabbath), see F. Gavin, The Jewish Ante- 
cedents of the Christian Sacraments (New York: Ktav Publishing House, 
Inc., 1928), p. 64, and compare Leon Morris, The Gospel according to 
John: The English Text with Introduction, Exposition and Notes, New Inter- 
national Commentary on the New Testament, F. F. Bruce, gen. ed. (Grand 
Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1971), pp. 779-80, 782. 


setting of sustained feasting, fellowship and sharing with one 
another in the perfect bond of Christian love and joy is not coun- 
ter to the due solemnity of the Eucharist, but is, in fact, climac- 
tically conducive to it. 

This difference of emphasis and function is not to deny that 
all three categories of sacrificial ritual acts are, in fact, 
represented in the Eucharist. Expiating body and blood are 
paramount, but evidence of the substitutionary consecration is 
that the Paschal lamb was roasted in the fires of consecration, 
and that the Paschal bread was unleavened, i.e. consecrated 
bread, which symbol was probably perpetuated by Christ's own 
Last Supper and by present-day Eucharistic wafers. Substitu- 
tionary celebration is represented by ingesting the elements, a 
formal similarity it shares with the Passover meal. Both our 
Lord's Last Supper and its crowning Eucharist were unques- 
tionably in a Passover setting. Jesus told His disciples to prepare 
the Passover (Mt. 26:17-18, Mk. 14:12, Lk. 22:7-8, 11); they 
prepared the Passover (Mt. 26:19, Mk. 14:16, Lk. 22:13, 15), and 
He ate the Paschal meal with them, climaxing with the bread 
and cup (Mt. 26:26-27, Mk. 14:22-23, Lk. 22:19-20), which He 
signifies is "My blood of the covenant" (Mt. 26:28, cf. Ex. 24:8; 
Mk. 14:24), "the new covenant in My blood" (Lk. 22:20). Finally, 
we also have His words of institution, "Do this in remembrance 
of me" (Lk. 22:19, cf. I Cor. 11:24-25). For a further description 
of the Passover Seder and the meal-segment of the Lord's 
Supper, see below the discussion of the love-feast under 
"Celebration." In short, the emphasis of the Eucharist is on the 
crisis experience of altar-shed blood, as is indicated by the fact 
that in all Eucharistic services the cup in His blood is the ter- 
minal and climaxing ritual act. 

2. Consecration (Changing-Fire) : Pediiavium 

The New Testament ceremonial reflex to consecration is, 
in my view, the Pediiavium, i.e. the ceremonial washing of feet. 
This ceremony is also known as "feet-washing," "foot-washing," 
or "washing the saints' feet." The term "ceremonial washing 
of feet" (Pediiavium) is the best in that it distinguishes the cor- 
porate rite from the common or customary or hospitable pedal 
cleanliness. It is here that the full dedication of the sublimating 
(slow-burning) sacrificial offering finds fullest expression. So 
does the priestly laver at the tabernacle-temple receive its ectype 
(antitype) in Jesus Christ, the Servant of the Lord, who washes 
His disciples feet, and Who commands them as a priesthood of 
believers in His image to wash each others' feet. 

The only New Testament text which speaks directly to this 
is Jn. 13:1-20, but is itself a major revelation of that ministry 
of our Lord which initiated the Farewell Discourses recorded 
by John in chapters 13-17. Like the farewell discourses of Moses 


in Deuteronomy, Jesus gives these priceless Paschal addresses. 
But first He washes His disciples' feet, an act filled with the 
meaning of the cross and beyond. 11 

In vs. 1 it indicates that Jesus, having loved His own that 
were in the world, loved them unto the end. The Pedilavium and 
the cross illustrate the extent of this loving service. The feet- 
washing was during the evening meal (vs. 2), 12 from which He 
rose (vs. 4), and at which he later reclined again (vss. 12, 26). 
Such timing shows that this action of Jesus was more than social 
courtesy or mere humility, since in such a case He would have 
washed them upon arrival. In vs. 4 Jesus strips to the loincloth, 
just as a slave would do, and begins His rounds having clothed 
Himself with humility (cf. I Pet. 5:5). We think of the humble 
and submissive words of Abigail to David at his proposal of 
marriage, "Behold, your maidservant is a maid to wash the feet 
of my lord's servants" (I Sam. 25:41). We further think of the 
words of John the Baptist when he said, giving as lowly an 
example as he could, that he was not worthy even to stoop down 
and untie the thong of Jesus' sandals — a job of a personal slave 
who removes the shoes of his master and then washes his feet. 
Yet it is Jesus who says, "But I am among you as the one who 
serves" (Lk. 22:27). 

We, somewhat like Peter, shrink from this. We are willing, 
to a degree, to be humble before God, but He humble before us ? ! 
Peter says (vs. 6), "Lord, do You wash my feet?" Jesus explains 
that Peter will later understand this action (vs. 7). In vs. 8, 

Peter's reaction is characteristically vigorous. He brushes 
aside Jesus' suggestion that something is going on whose 
significance he does not yet know. To him it is unthinkable 
that Jesus should ever engage in the menial activity of washing 
His servant's feet. . . . "Peter is humble enough to see the 
incongruity of Christ's action yet proud enough to dictate to 
his Master" (MacGregor). 13 

To Peter's reply of "never," Jesus says, "If I do not wash you, 
you have no part with me" (vs. 8), which surely refers to both 
this washing of his feet and that symbolized by it which is 
necessary to being a Christian, namely to be washed from sin 
by the blood of Christ (cf. I Jn. 1:7). Peter responds again 
(vs. 9), submitting feet, hands, and head. 

Now we have a characteristic Petrine touch. Convinced by 
Jesus' words, Peter will not do the thing by halves. Hands 

11 For the general thrust of this passage see Leon Morris, ibid., pp. 
610-23, and Note H, pp. 774-86. 

1 2 The translation "and during supper" of RV, ASV, RSV, and 
NASB is correct against the AV which has "and supper being ended" (the 
Greek kai deipnou ginomenou is literally "and supper taking place"). 

13 Morris, ad he, p. 617. 


and head must be washed as well as feet. Peter may not have 
meant the words to be taken literally, but as a wholehearted 
renunciation of his previous refusal to be washed at all. But 
we should not overlook the fact that the answer is still the 
product of self-will. Peter is reluctant to let Jesus do what He 
wants. He prefers to dictate the terms. There is also a misun- 
derstanding of the meaning of the action. It is not a way of 
cleansing the disciples, but a symbol of that cleansing. It is 
not the area of skin that is washed that matters, but the ac- 
ceptance of Jesus' lowly service. 14 

Then follows in vs. 10 one of the most important statements 
of Jesus for our discussion here. "Jesus said to him, 'He who 
has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; 
and you are clean, but not all of you.' " Jesus is countering 
Peter's request for a bath, and is asserting his need only to wash. 
When a man is going to a feast he will bathe his whole body, 
and when he arrives he needs only to wash part of his body, 
namely his feet, to be completey clean for the meal. The con- 
trast between "he that is bathed" (ho leloumenos) and "to 
wash" (nipsasthai) means at least that much. But it is equally 
certain that Jesus is applying this imagery in a symbolic and 
spiritual sense, for He did not wash them on arrival, and further, 
Jesus washes, but is Himself at this time not washed by any 
(contrast Lk. 7:44 where Jesus says to Simon the Pharisee, 
"... you gave me no water for my feet . . ."), the reason being 
the sin-connection implied in vs. 8, "If I do not wash you, you 
have no part with me." Jesus had no sin from which to be 
symbolically washed. Peter and all the others did. But even they 
who have been thoroughly cleansed (bathed) by Christ and 
incur defilement in their daily walk (feet), do not need to be 
radically cleansed (radical renewal), but need only to wash or 
rinse their feet (daily cleansing from sin). So, therefore, at 
least in this instance by Christ, feet-washing and sin-washing 
are inextricably related, apart from whatever social benefits 
may or may not have been received (i.e. whether they had or 
had not already washed their own feet upon entering the upper 
room before dinner). Although not presently known to the dis- 
ciples, both the crisis experience of regeneration (bathing) and 
the changing experience of sanctification (washing, rinsing) 
through the work and merits of Christ had been alluded to by 
Christ Himself. This they would later understand once His 
cleansing blood of expiation and consecration shed on Calvary's 
cross was applied in the outpourings of the Holy Spirit's power. 

We may wonder if beyond feet-washing and sin-washing, 
Jesus was thirdly alluding to Christian baptism in His expres- 
sion, "He that is bathed." Some, for example, would say, "But 

14 Ibid., pp. 617-18. 


apart from the fact that this appears to be reading something 
into the narrative, there is the further point that we have no 
evidence for thinking the apostles were baptized (unless with 
John's baptism)." 15 But just as they would have a future under- 
standing of what Christ was doing, and just as the future work 
of the Spirit of Pentecost was being symbolized, so too future 
Christian baptism could be signified. 16 While such is by no 
means a necessary inference and surely not proven, John and 
all other Christians who would reflect on these words of our 
Lord would find it difficult to resist such a possibility. In any 
case, beyond the primary feet-washing and secondary sin- 
washing, a tertiary baptism-bathing is not germane to anyone's 
argument for either a voluntary or regular celebration of the 
of the Pedilavium-segment of the sacrament of the Lord's 

The implications of Jesus' symbolic action are brought out by 
verses 12-20, with the command that we follow His example and 
wash one another's feet. Are these words of literal command, 
or words of moral essence (that is, are we rather commanded to 
imitate only the moral essence of loving and lowly service sym- 
bolized by Christ's washing of their feet) ? In either case, the 
latter essence is always presupposed and true. And not only 
that, but if the former were also intended by Jesus, then He 
surely did not mean mere feet-washing, for more than an 
external action is enjoined, namely that we do it with a loving 
spirit or attitude toward others, analagous to Christ, our 
Exemplar (vss. 1, 15, 34) . Further, it must be mixed with faith 
to be Christian. This is illustrated by the fact that although 
Jesus washed the feet of all twelve of His disciples (vss. 10-12, 
18), including Judas Iscariot who had not yet left the room 
(vss. 21, 26-27, 30), only the faithless traitor remained "not 
clean" (vss. 10-11), and was excluded from the blessing of 
future performance (vss. 17-18). "And without faith it is 
impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe 
that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him" 
(Heb. 11:6). 

The force of Jesus' feet-washing command in Jn. 13: 

15 Ibid., pp. 618-19. 

16 The Bauer- Arndt-Gingrich Greek lexicon says that louo means 
to "wash, as a rule of the whole body, bathe" (p. 481b), and that ho 
leloumenos means "the one who has bathed (in contrast to the one who has 
his feet washed, and with allusion to the cleansing of the whole body in 
baptism)" (p. 482a). The cognate noun, loutron, means "bath, washing of 
baptism" (p. 481a), and is used in Eph. 5:26 and Tit. 3:5. A contrast is made 
in Lev. 15:11 between rinsing the hands (Hebrew shataph, LXX Greek 
nipto) and washing/ bathing the body (Hebrew rahats, LXX Greek louo). 



OBLIGATION. (14) If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, 
washed (nipto) your feet, you also ought (opheilo) to wash 
(nipto) one another's feet. EXAMPLE. (15) For I gave you 
an example (hupodeigma) that you also should do as 
(kathos) I did to you (hina KATHOS ego epoiesa humin 
KAI humeis poiete). COMPARISON. (16) Truly, truly, 
I say to you, a slave is not greater (meizon) than his master; 
neither one who is sent greater (meizon) than the one who 
sent him. BLESSING. (17) If you know these things, 
you are blessed (makarios) if you do them (makarioi este 
ean poiete auta). 

The disciples are commanded to be ready and willing to 
perform the lowliest service in His name, and in whose honor 
nothing is below their dignity, including the washing of one 
another's feet, for we have His example in order that we might 
do as He has done (vs. 15). 18 And truly they did do this, for 
which we have one Biblical example. In I Tim. 5:10 it says that 
a widow on the list is proper if she, among other things, "has 
shown hospitality to strangers, if she has washed (nipto) the 
saint's feet, if she has assisted those in distress, and if she has 
devoted herself to every good work." In such a context of hos- 
pitality to strangers and works of mercy, it does appear that 
the voluntary social service of feet-washing is in view here, 
rather than the ceremony, but such lowly labor is still in obe- 
dience to His command and is an honor to her Lord. 

So, it seems to us, that Jesus specifically stipulates that 
the action of washing one another's feet be among the lowly 
tasks of service to which He called His disciples and for which 
He set the foundational example. But we are by no means done. 
Three questions remain: (1) the sin-washing, (2) the ceremony, 
and (3) the social value. The answers to these questions are 
given below, but all are inconclusive. 

The first of the remaining questions pertains to the sin- 
washing. Can it be shown that when the disciples obeyed the 

1 7 Cf . Joseph R. Shultz, The Soul of the Symbols: A Theological 
Study of Holy Communion (Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans 
Publishing Company, 1966), pp. 76-77. 

1 8 Contrast Morris who, in commenting on this "as I did . . . you 
also should do" (kathos . . . kai) of vs. 15, drives a wedge between "do as 
I have done" and "do what I have done," by saying: "kathos . . .kai shows 
how closely they are to follow the example given. At the same time we should 
notice that this is not identical with 'what I have done'. It is the spirit and 
not the action which is to be imitated" (ibid., p. 621, n. 36; italics mine). 
His statement is remarkable in the light of the Semitic substratum of John's 
language whereby "do as . . ." means "do (according to) what . . ." (Hebrew 
asa ke/al, Aramaic avad ke/al). For Aramaic examples see Dan. 4:32 
(English vs. 35), Ezra 4:22, 7:18 (cf. avad kenema "do thus," Ezra 6:13). 


feet-washing command that it would carry for them the sin- 
washing connection and connotation which it had when Christ 
performed it? The answer is "no, not conclusively." There is no 
specific statement to this effect in John 13 (our only text). 
The connection in the case of Christ, as we have shown, is 
unmistakable. Christ's desire and need to ceremonialize His 
consecration that sorrowful night was very great indeed. This 
was the night before the cross — service to the uttermost. In 
washing the feet of His disciples He was engaging in the typol- 
ogy of His cross, a prophetic action dramatizing His willingness 
for ultimate service to His people, even sacrificial death, just as 
His prophetic spirit dramatized the typology of Pentecost when 
He breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn. 
20:22). The word of the prophets (prophecy) is history pre- 
written, and the action of the prophets (typology) is history 
prefigured. Christ, God's Final Word, has deep passions for 
both. Christ further wanted to ceremonialize not only his own 
consecration, but the consecration of His disciples as under the 
blood and cleansed from sin. Jesus ceremonialized the power of 
His blood to cleanse from all sin, both for initiation into 
the kingdom of God and for continuing cleansing from daily 
defilement. As such their passive consecration is powerfully 
symbolized. "All of you," except Judas Iscariot, "are clean." 
But now for the crux of the matter as this writer sees it. Jesus 
Christ had ceremonialized His active and passive consecration 
to His Father by vicarious loving service and vicarious accursed 
death. He further ceremonialized the passive consecration of 
His own. But the active consecration of His disciples would only 
be ceremonialized as they, in the imitation of Christ, washed 
one another's feet. This is to say, while there is no explicit 
reference to a ceremonialized sin-washing in an imitative feet- 
washing ceremony, it is implied and needful, ceremonially need- 
ful. We as creatures in the image of God need to ceremonialize 
our active and passive obedience to God. The sublimation of the 
vicarious sacrificial corpse given by the offerer to the flames 
of God in repentance and faith in the Old Testament superbly 
expressed both. Jesus expressed both in His fulfilling yet typical 
washing of His disciples' feet, at once both a loving service of 
cleansing and a supreme resignation to the impending blood of 
His cross which cleanses from all sin. And so, to a believer who 
knows it and can receive it, both his active and passive consecra- 
tion are respectively ceremonialized in his washing and being 
washed during the Pedilavium. The daily cleansing by Jesus 
from daily sin is being ceremonially given and received in Jesus' 
name and merits. The crux, in other words, is one of liturgical 
need — the need of a believer not only subjectively and individ- 
ually to work out his consecration to the Lord but also to 
ceremonialize it in corporate worship. We are to be living sac- 


rifices to God, aflame and ever pure. The need is antecedently 
Scriptural, being part of the very fiber and procedure of Old 
and New Testament ritual acts. Our need remains as great as 
Peter's, and we are both invited and enjoined to fill it. 

While the expiation-consecration-celebration paradigm may 
find powerful ceremonial expression in the concepts of Eucharist- 
Pedilavium-Agape, the divine institution and consequent norma- 
tivity of the Pedilavium (the ceremonial washing of feet) 
remains unproven, and must not be used to bind the conscience 
of the church. It should never be a compulsory or expected part 
of one's service at the Eucharistic feast of the church. While 
it cannot certainly be said to be normative worship, it is surely 
normal worship, for it is an intensely appropriate expression of 
the entire Bible's plan of redemption. And parenthetically, for 
those who either voluntarily-occasionally engage in this ritual 
or those who regularly celebrate it, a benefit beyond cere- 
monialized consecration is acquired. Just as the laver (Ex. 30: 
17-21) was for the priest to wash his hands and feet in 
preparation for divine service at the altar, so the Pedilavium is 
preparation, symbolic cleansing preparatory to the Eucharistic 
service — cleansing the hands through washing the feet of 
another, cleansing the feet through being washed. By the water 
of cleansing and by the fire of devotion we go from purity to 
greater purity in the Spirit of holiness. 

The second and third remaining questions flow logically 
from the first. The second question concerns the ceremony. If 
sin-washing is signified by our imitative feet-washing, did Jesus 
intend to institute for that generation the Christian ceremonial 
of the Pedilavium as an integral part of the Lord's Supper? As 
indicated above, we do not know for sure what His intentions 
here were, and therefore we may not require it. But in our 
judgment, the sin-connection along with the Biblical pattern of 
ceremonializing consecration make the answer, "possibly yes." 
The Lord could have intended his disciples to engage in the 
recurrent ritual of the ceremonial washing of feet. Such would 
be the fullest expression of sin-washing. 

The third question concerns the social value: did Jesus 
expect the first century Palestinian ceremonial washing of feet 
to continue after it had lost its social value or social expressive- 
ness ? The action was always awkward ; this is part of its design 
to teach us unquestioning service. However, in progressing from 
the dusty-road-and-sandal culture to the paved-road-and-shoe 
culture, the awkwardness is increased, and though spiritually 
beneficial, its social utility and expressiveness have clearly 
ceased. Is it the Lord's desire that this part of His Last Supper 
ordinance continue? Our answer, again, is guardedly, "yes." As 
was pointed out in the exegesis of John 13, during the ceremony 
of feet-washing the social aspect, though perhaps for a few 


centuries present, was not the point of Jesus' service, and prob- 
ably not of any imitative ceremonies either. Ceremonial feet- 
washing is ceremonial sin-washing. If anything, its increased 
awkwardness drives home more severely the concept of disin- 
terested service. The Lord often calls us to do cheefully some 
unpleasant tasks, and such could be a part of a Biblical 
ceremony. We should do what is our duty to do, without com- 
plaint. We do not do the Pedilavium to be humble, for one can- 
not do humility. The purpose of the Pedilavium is service, and 
we are all servants, priests to God and men. No service is below 
our dignity. Pride, fear, apprehension or doubt may conceivably 
keep someone from the Pedilavium, but the Pedilavium does not 
instill humility, nor remove pride, fear, apprehension or doubt. 
It is a sad commentary on the disciples that they recoiled at 
Jesus' humility and lack of pride. They ought rather to have 
marvelled at His radical concept of service and self -giving love. 
Instead of thinking about which of them would be the greatest 
in the kingdom of God (Lk. 22:24-27; cf. 9:46-48, Mk. 9:33-37), 
they should have thought about being a servant of all, and about 
the Servant of the Lord in their midst. Whereas the Eucharist 
memorializes the atonement (expiation) of Christ, the Pedi- 
lavium memorializes the obedience and service (consecration) 
of Christ. The Pedilavium is not inspirational and one does not 
feel euphoria. One feels warmly human, like an obedient slave 
or priest in the image of Christ who is True Humanity. The 
blessing comes the day after when you think of what Christ and 
your brother have done for you, and what you, in Christ, have 
done for him and for Christ. I am my brother's keeper, because 
Jesus, the sin-bearer of Israel, is the Keeper of us both. 

Again, it must be repeated, in my view the ansv/er to these 
questions in inconclusive. We must take them to God and con- 
tinue to search the Scriptures. The biggest problem is that, unlike 
the Agape and Eucharist in I Cor. 11, the Pedilavium is not 
mentioned, not directly at least (see I Tim. 5:10 above), outside 
the Gospel of John. We simply do not know the apostolic cere- 
monial practice, if any. This is the main reason why opinions vary, 
and must be respected. To those in fellowships which find this 
service meaningful there must be a searching of Biblical 
categories of meaning. That is why this study of Levitical 
sacrificial procedure and Christian liturgy has been developed. 
The author is seeking to authenticate by means of Scripture, and 
Scripture alone, an increasingly rich and theological experience 
in these areas being discussed. 

It is possible, in fact likely, that some readers are saying 
that Christian baptism is fully adequate to symbolize all the 
washing we need, both initial (incorporation) and continuous 
(sanctification). To this we would respond two ways. First, 
though they may be right, a burning question remains. It was 


Jesus who said, "He who has bathed needs only to wash 
his feet . . ." (Jn. 13:10). What is the relationship of the sup- 
posed total adequacy to this need mentioned by Jesus? This 
bathing could refer to baptism-bathing as well as to the obvious 
social and spiritual connotations (see the exegesis of Jn. 13 
above), in which case something in addition liturgically is need- 
ful. Which leads to the second point, that the ordeal nature of 
the non-recurrent covenantal signs of circumcision and baptism 
stresses incorporation (bathing), whereas the waters of con- 
secratory sanctification are more centrally expressed in the 
Pedilavium (washing). The Pedilavium was apparently designed 
by Jesus to be a public pledge of renewed devotion to Christ upon 
repentance and cleansing from sins committed after conversion, 
and perhaps still has this design. The purpose and liturgical load 
of each, Baptism and Pedilavium, appears to be beautifully and 
divinely suited for Christ's church. 

A light concluding note on the Pedilavium can be given by 
tracing the interesting history of a word and idea based on Jn. 
13:34, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one 
another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one 
another." The opening phrase, "a new commandment," is 
rendered in the Latin Vulgate version, "novum mandatum." 
This word for "commandment" is not only the basis of our word 
for "mandate," but is the specific context for our word 
"maundy," as in Maundy Thursday ("Mandate Thursday"). 
According to The Random House Dictionary of the English 
Language, "maundy" is a noun meaning "the ceremony of 
washing the feet of the poor, esp. commemorating Jesus' washing 
of His disciples' feet on Maundy Thursday." It traces the English 
word "maundy" from Middle English maunde, from Old French 
mande, from the Latin of this verse mandat(um), meaning 
command, mandate. It can also refer to maundy money, "money 
distributed as alms in conjunction with the ceremony of 
maundy. . . ." This perhaps has its basis in Jn. 13:29 where the 
disciples thought that Jesus in His command to Judas Iseariot, 
"Y/hat you do, do quickly," might be saying "that he should 
give something to the poor." Alms were associated with the 
Passover, and in the Christian church have been associated with 
the Eucharist by means of a special offering, in the love-feast 
by feeding the poor (see I Cor. 11 below) , and in the Pedilavium 
by the maundy alms just indicated. While alms in connection 
with any of these ceremonies would surely ceremonialize our 
consecration, it is extremely doubtful that the giving of 
alms, good, proper and required in themselves, is the cere- 
mony Jesus specifically intended in Jn. 13, and in any case, 
such conjoined maundy money does not negate the maundy 
itself, nor the specificity of Jesus' maundy-mandate that 
they wash one another's feet. "Maundy Thursday," etymolo- 


gically, is ' 'Mandate-to-love-as-He-lo ved-by-washing-f eet-as-He- 
washed-feet Thursday." 

3. Celebration (Sharing-Meal) : Agape 

The New Testament ceremonial reflex to celebration is, 
most probably, the Agape, also known as the "love-feast," and, 
in the fuller sense, "the Lord's Supper." The direct Scriptural 
references to it outside the Last Supper of the four Gospels are 
I Cor. 11 and Jude 12, with possible references in II Pet. 2:13 
(some MSS) and Acts 2:42, 46. The two explicit epistolary 
references to the love-feast, I Cor. 11 and Jude 12, are to 
correct abuses of an already existing practice. 

In order to arrive at a definition of the Agape, what it 
signified, and how it was practiced, one must exegete these 
Scriptures, beginning with the Gospels and the most difficult 
question of all in this definition : was the Last Supper a Passover 
meal or some common meal with an uncommon significance? 
This places us squarely in the middle of a problem in Gospel 
chronology: which day was Passover in the week Jesus died? 
Was Passover that year on the very Friday of Jesus' crucifixion, 
the Last Supper being the night before Passover, or was it on 
Thursday, the day before Jesus' death, the Last Supper then 
being the Paschal meal? One of the most recent summaries of 
this discussion is again that of Leon Morris in an appendix to 
his commentary on the Gospel of John. 19 We will barely sum- 
marize his summary, giving just enough information on this 
difficult subject to provide a setting for the Last Supper, so as 
to quickly return to a definition of the Agape. 

Morris begins with the obvious, namely that the Synoptic 
Gospels appear to record the Last Supper as a Passover meal, 
while John seems to indicate that Jesus was crucified on the 
same afternoon that the Passover victims were being slain, so 
that the Last Supper preceded the Passover. After giving the 
evidence for each of these two positions — a Maundy Thursday 
Passover (apparently the Synoptics) versus a Good Friday 
Passover (apparently the Fourth Gospel) — Morris, eliminating 
those who accept the trustworthiness of none of the four Gos- 
pels, and confining himself to views which allow for substantial 
historicity in one or more accounts, then lists five possible views 
for the date of the Passover in Holy Week. 

(1) The two accounts cannot be harmonized and John is to 
be preferred. (2) The two accounts cannot be harmonized 
and the Synoptists are to be preferred, (3) The Passover 
took place as in the Synoptists (i.e. the Last Supper was a 

19 Ibid., pp. 774-86 ("Additional Note H: The Last Supper and 
the Passover"). 


Passover meal) and John is not really in contradiction. 
(4) The Passover took place as in John and the Synoptists 
are not really in contradiction. (5) There are calendrical 
differences so that the Synoptists follow one reckoning and 
John another. 20 

The first two views are modernistic. Most modern com- 
mentators prefer the first view. The third view is the preference 
of Lane (commentary on Mark) and Geldenhuys (commentary 
on Luke), just to name two conservative-evangelical works. 
The fourth view is held by people like Dom Gregory Dix, and by 
a number of the Brethren writers (who practice the love-feast) . 
The fifth view is the preference of Strack and Billerbeck, and 
Morris himself. My own choice is primarily the fifth, which 
presently has the edge (i.e. that both Maundy Thursday and 
Good Friday were Passovers of different calendrical reckoning 
among rival Jewish groups and practices, such as represented 
at Qumran). My secondary choice, however, is the fourth (i.e. 
that Jesus died on Passover), with the stipulation that regard- 
less of whether Maundy Thursday was or was not a rival Pass- 
over day, it was still nonetheless a Passover meal (as was 
indicated above in the exegesis of the Eucharist under "Expia- 
tion"). I personally see the origin of the love-feast in what Jesus 
did to His Last Paschal Supper, which clearly was an altered 
and Christian form of the Jewish Passover of the first century. 
This is to say that the Passover meal demanded by the Synop- 
tics, be it a rival Passover day or an anticipative Passover meal 
(Jesus holding His own Passover a day early knowing that He 
was about to be killed) , was far more than a specialized fellow- 
ship meal, such as either a fellowship havura or a Sabbath-eve 
kiddush. In fact, it was far more than a Passover meal, as will 
be developed. 

Both a rival and an anticipative Passover would have to be 
altered in several details by law and by the innovations of Jesus. 
"If the temple authorities held one day to be the correct day 
and Jesus and His followers agreed with those who had the 
alternative view, then they would not be able to obtain a lamb 
and their celebration would necessarily differ from what might 
have been expected." 21 Such a lambless Passover might have 
been held anywhere outside Jerusalem too. Calendrical diver- 
gence might account for the Gospels not mentioning a lamb or 
Paschal dishes such as the bitter herbs, but such is arguing 
from silence. Jesus did several new things at His Last Paschal 
Supper. Instead of the pater familias (the father of the family) 
presiding over the Passover meal with his whole family (men, 
women and children), Jesus presided with just the Twelve, 

20 Ibid., p. 777. 

21 Ibid., p. 785. 


terminating with only the faithful Eleven. He further astonished 
them by introducing the Pedilavium, and by identifying the 
bread and the penultimate cup of the Seder with His own 
impending sacrificial death. 

At this point it is best to discuss briefly the sequence of 
the Passover Seder, for which Lane's discussion at Mk. 14:17 
is adequate and up-to-date. 22 The family head (who presides) 
and the singing of the Hallel Psalms (113-18) are central to 
the ceremony. The head begins the ceremony by blessing the 
festival (the Passover Kiddush — sanctification of the day) and 
then blesses the wine. All partake of the first cup of wine. The 
food is then brought it, usually consisting of unleavened bread, 
bitter herbs, greens, stewed fruit, and roasted lamb. The question 
of the youngest son regarding the uniqueness of the night is 
then asked, followed by the head recalling the exodus story. All 
join in song by singing the first half of the Hallel (Psalms 113- 
15), after which comes the second cup of wine for all. The head 
then begins the meal proper by blessing and fracturing the bread. 
The bread is then eaten by all with the bitter herbs and stewed 
fruit. The main course of roasted lamb then takes place. The 
head then blesses the wine with a prayer of thanksgiving, which 
is followed by all drinking a third cup of wine. The last half of 
the Hallel (Psalms 116-18) is sung by the group, which then 
in consummation drinks the terminating fourth cup of wine. 

It appears from our discussion within other headings above 
that the feet-washing could have taken place, with the subse- 
quent identification of the traitor, during the meal. Toward the 
end of the main meal Jesus took additional bread and wine and 
gave the two words of institution. The second word of institution 
(wine of His blood) perhaps came at the end of the main meal 
at the point where the head would have blessed the wine and 
given thanks for the third cup. This third cup, the cup of 
redemption in the Passover, probably became the very cup of the 
Eucharist. Here, probably, Jesus said that He would not drink 
the (fourth) kingdom-cup of consummation until His return 
to finish the meal, which will be at the marriage feast of the 
Lamb. With the bitter third cup of His suffering willingly drunk, 
and the fourth cup of consummation temporarily refused, all 
that remained was to complete the Hallel. So after singing the 
hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives (Mt. 26:30, 
Mk. 14:26). 

On the significance of the cups Lane has an intriguing 
datum from the Jerusalem Talmud: 

22 William L. Lane, The Gospel according to Mark: The English 
Text with Introduction, Exposition and Notes, New International Commen- 
tary on the New Testament, F. F. Bruce, gen. ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: 
William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974), pp. 501-2. 


The cup from which Jesus abstained was the fourth, which 
ordinarily concluded the Passover fellowship. The significance 
of this can be appreciated from the fact that the four cups 
of wine were interpreted in terms of the four-fold promise 
of redemption set forth in Exod. 6:6-7: "I will bring you 
out ... I will rid you of their bondage ... I will redeem 
you , , . I will take you for my people and I will be your 
God" (TJ Pesahim X. 37b). 23 

The Lord's Paschal Supper is an unfinished meal, cut short by 
a bitter third cup of redemptive wrath which did not pass Jesus 
by. But we proclaim by such the Lord's death until He comes 
to complete and extend the feast in the kingdom of God (Mt. 
26:29, Mk. 14:25, Lk. 22:18, 30; cf. Mt. 8:11, Lk. 14:15, Rev. 
3:20, 19:6-9). 

Returning now to a definition of the Agape, we can see that 
both the Pedilavium and the Eucharist occurred in the context 
of a Paschal meal, being a part, respectively, of its initial and 
terminal stages. The Scriptures already studied indicate that 
it was during the evening meal (Jn. 13:2) that Jesus washed 
their feet, from which meal He rose (vs. 4), and at which He 
later reclined again (vss. 12,26). Jesus made His Pedilavium 
a part of the Last Passover Supper. Furthermore, the Eucharist 
was not a token meal after the Paschal meal, but was an integral 
part of it. He took the bread and the cup "while they were eat- 
ing" (Mt. 26:26, Mk. 14:22), the cup of the Eucharist probably 
being the third cup of the Passover. Other Passover events then 
followed the Eucharist, namely the declaration of the signifi- 
cance (I Cor. 11:26) of and postponement of the fourth cup, 
followed by the singing of the terminal hymn regular to the 
Passover service. Our Lord's Last Supper was a Paschal service 
and meal which was being conducted by Christ before, during, 
and after the Pedilavium and Eucharist. This supper of love 
(Jn. 13:1, 34) when celebrated with the Eucharist, and possibly 
even with the Pedilavium (see above), is most likely what the 
New Testament calls "the love-feast" (Greek he agape "the 
love," Jude 12), and "the Lord's Supper" (Greek kuriakon 
deipnon, I Cor. 11:20; cf. Rev. 1:10 for a similar Greek expres- 
sion). Again, in our judgment, most fundamental to a proper 
definition of the Agape is the fact that the Lord's Supper (the 
Agape, the love-feast) is what our Lord did to His Last Pass- 
over Supper the night before His Passover death. In both cere- 
monial meal and atoning death it is "Christ our Passover" 
(I Cor. 5:7-8). 

It is needful at this point to ask what of significance are 
the precedents and successors to the Last Supper. This will im- 
prove and sharpen our basic definition of it as the Christian 

23 Ibid., p. 508 (at Mk. 14:25). 


ceremonial reflex to the Passover. As stated above in the 
Eucharist ("Expiation") discussion, what was affirmed about 
ceremonial meals as precedents to the Eucharist may be also 
affirmed here of the Lord's Supper, but with, again, a differ- 
ence of emphasis, for they are the body and consummating final 
ritual act of the same covenant meal. The annual family Pass- 
over of Exodus 12, the covenant ratification meal of the elders 
in Exodus 24, and the peace-offering meal of laity and priests 
in the sacrificial system of Leviticus 7 as "sharers in the altar" 
(I Cor. 10:18), and possibly any covenantal fellowship meals, 
all find their fulfillment in the Lord's Supper and its consum- 
mating Eucharist. The body and final course of the Passover, 
as stated, find their liturgical expression in the Christian feast- 
ing and celebration of the Agape when accompanied by the 
climaxing and expiatory expression of the Eucharist. 

Indeed, the Lord's Supper was more than a Passover. It 
was a covenant ratification meal with the elders of Christ's 
church (the Eleven), with Christ as Mediator of the New 
Covenant in His own blood, fulfilling the pattern (type) of 
Moses as mediator of the Old Covenant in the blood of peace 
offerings, dining in the presence of God with the elders of Israel 
(Ex. 24). Such would explain why Christ did not hold a family 
Passover meal, but only with His disciples as the ratifying body 
of elders in His new church. Jesus Himself alludes to Ex. 24, 
for when taking the words of Moses, "Behold the blood of the 
covenant which the Lord has made with you" (Ex. 24:8), 
Jesus Himself said in transforming fulfillment, "This is My blood 
of the covenant which is shed on behalf of many" (Mt. 26:28, 
Mk. 14:24), being in fact, "the new covenant in My blood" 
(Lk. 22:20, I Cor. 11:25). The Lord's Supper was at once the 
Messiah's final pre-glory Passover and the New Testament's only 
ratification meal. 

But it was still more. It is the recurrent ritual meal cele- 
brating the joy of Christian forgiveness and deliverance. For 
Christ commanded future observance and did not limit future 
observance to the Eleven when He said in His words of institu- 
tion, "Do this in remembrance of Me" (Lk. 22:19, I Cor. 11:24), 
and the church so understood it as for all believers (I Cor. 11). 
The Christian Agape sustains the setting of covenant feasting, 
commemorating, as the sacrificial meals of Leviticus 7 (and 
Deut. 12, 14, 16), the celebration of forgiveness, and, as the 
Passover meals, the celebration of deliverance. The Lord's 
Supper is the New Testament ritual reflex to the themes of 
expiation, consecration, and celebration. The meal itself provides 
the context of celebration, in the train of Passover and sacrificial 
meal. This context is for the celebrative ceremonializing of the 
consecrating service and expiating death by which our Lord 
ratified the New Covenant, and by which we in covenant re- 


newal ceremony memorialize, sacramentalize and typify Him 
who is Himself "My servant, ... a covenant to the people, . . . 
a light to the nations" (Isa. 42:1,6). 

The Eucharist, the crisis experience, memorializes the death 
and atonement of Christ. The Pedilavium, the changing experi- 
ence, memorializes the obedience and service of Christ. The 
Agape meal, the sharing experience, memorializes the love and 
joy of Christ, a sharing joy, His joy given to us, unspeakable 
and full of glory. Agape love is simply His love, the sharing love. 
When we break bread together we are sharing this love and joy in 
covenant meal. The breaking of bread is both a covenant symbol 
and pledge of brotherly love. How painful the treachery of Judas 
must have been, initially at the meal of peace (Jn. 13:18, Psa. 
41:9; cf. Psa. 23) and then with the garden kiss of peace, 
a veritable unholy kiss of death! Whereas the Eucharist empha- 
sizes expiation and atonement, the Agape emphasizes koinonia 
(sharing and fellowship). 

This, in turn, leads us to the successors of Christ's Last 
Paschal Supper, i.e. the references and practice of the Lord's 
Supper mentioned in the New Testament after the Gospels. The 
first reference may be in the Acts of the Apostles. 

And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' 
teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to 
prayer. . . . And day by day continuing with one mind in the 
temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were 
taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of 
heart (Acts 2:42,46). 

The key phrases here are "the breaking of bread" (vs. 42), 
"breaking bread from house to house," and "they were taking 
their meals together" (vs. 46). Bruce, in commenting on these 
verses, and quoting Otto, makes the following observations 
(italics mine). 

The "breaking of bread" here denotes something more than 
the ordinary partaking of food together: the regular observ- 
ance of the Lord's Supper is no doubt indicated. While this 
observance appears to have formed part of an ordinary meal, 
the emphasis on the act of breaking the bread, "a circum- 
stance wholly trivial in itself," suggests that this was "the 
significant element of the celebration. . . . But it could only 
be significant when it was a 'signum', viz. of Christ's being 
broken in death". . . . Day by day, then, in the weeks that 
followed the first Christian Pentecost, the believers met regu- 
larly in the temple precincts for public worship and public 
witness, while they took their fellowship meals in each other's 
homes and "broke the bread" in accordance with their 
Master's ordinance. . . . The community was organized along 
the lines of the voluntary type of association called a haburah, 
a central feature of which was the communal meal. The 


communal meal could not conveniently be eaten in the temple 
precincts, so they ate "by households". . . , 24 

With these statements we are in agreement, but they have 
to be brought into focus. It is my view that the Eucharist, which 
was celebrated in the context of and as the climax to Christ's 
Last Passover Supper, was now, weeks after Passover and 
Pentecost, celebrated in the context of and as the climax to their 
daily Christian fellowship meals. All the evidence points toward 
the fact that the commonness of property, possessions and 
meals in Acts 2-7 (8:1-4 is the death of Stephen and the 
scattering of the church) was a temporary and very short-lived 
expedient to establish the church. After this, the Eucharist was 
celebrated in the context of and as the climax to an occasional 
fellowship meal, perhaps even weekly on the Lord's Day, known 
as the Lord's Supper or the Agape (love-feast; I Cor. 11, Jude 
12). The nature of these meals subsequent to the feast of Pass- 
over was surely not Paschal, though their significance was, 
thanks to the crowning Eucharist. By the time Passover rolled 
around again it is possible that the meal on that day imitated 
some of the other Passover courses, but even this would-be 
seasonal Christian Seder is very doubtful due to the fresh break 
between the church and the temple persecutors. So the point here 
is not that the early Church's love-feast was a Passover with 
its traditional courses, but rather that it was a common fellow- 
ship meal with Paschal significance, of which Christ, our Pass- 
over, was the necessary Ingredient ceremonialized in the con- 
stitutive and institutional final ritual act. 25 But note, the 
common denominator is that the New Testament church cele- 
brated the Eucharist in the context of and as the climax to a 
meal, be it Paschal (as initially with Jesus), communal (as 
subsequently with the early church), or occasional (finally, as 
at Corinth). This warrants us to say that the imitative Eucha- 
ristic meals were ceremonial meals (by virtue of the crowning 
Eucharist), which is to say they were common meals with an 
uncommon significance, non-Passover meals with the Paschal 
significance of Christ Himself. The Lord's Supper or love-feast 
is the Eucharistic fellowship meal of Jesus Christ, the Paschal 
Lamb of God, with His assembled church, who ceremonially 
celebrate His finished work and abiding presence. 

24 F. F. Bruce, Commentary on the Book of the Acts: The English 
Text with Introduction, Exposition and Notes, New International Com- 
mentary on the New Testament, F. F. Bruce, gen. ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: 
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1954), p. 79 (at vs. 42) and p. 81 (at 
vs. 46). 

25 As a matter of fact it cannot be proven that the Eucharist was 
specifically unleavened bread and red wine. Morris, citing Higgins, says 
that "the Eastern church uses leavened bread at Holy Communion; so ap- 
parently did the Western church until about the eleventh century" (Morris, 
ibid., p. 775). 


A final note on Acts 2 may be applied to the phrase "house 
to house." The early church met in homes, e.g. Philemon 2: 
"... and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow- 
soldier, and to the church in your house." This setting would be 
very conducive to meals and washings, such as the ceremonial 
ones of the Agape and Pedilavium. Eating and washing require 
neither beautiful sanctuaries nor cultic instruments. Christians 
had no sacred buildings, altars, or sacrificing priests, and nothing 
usually associated with religion and public worship. It is common 
knowledge that their pagan neighbors called them "atheists," 
thinking that they had no god, at least not in the "proper" 

There is a clear reference to the continuance of the love- 
feast in Jude. In Jude the ungodly who have "crept in unnoticed" 
(vs. 4) are described in very severe language, especially in verse 

These men are those who are hidden reefs in your love-feasts 
when they feast with you (en tais agapais humon . . . 
suneuochownenoi), without fear, caring for themselves; 
clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees 
without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted. 

There is a very similar description of the unrighteous in II Pet. 
2, especially verse 13, where there is a textual problem, however. 

They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are 
stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions when they 
feast with you (en tais apatais auton suneuochownenoi 

The variant text of II Pet. 2:13 has in the place of "deceptions" 
(apatais) the word "love-feasts" (agapais). 26 Both readings 
have a high degree of manuscript probability, although the 
reading "deceptions" (apatais) is more probable. In any case, 
the common denominator of Jude 12 and both readings of 
II Pet. 2:13 is the visible church gathered to feast together 
(suneuochoumenoi) . What does it mean "to feast together" 
(from suneuocheomai) ? Surely in Jude it is the love-feast we 
have been describing, and although not explicitly perhaps, Peter 
is surely describing the same thing. 

Finally, the longest and most explicit New Testament 
reference to the Lord's Supper is that of the apostle Paul 
in I Cor. 11, specifically 11:17-34. We render the text in full 
here according to the New International Version of the New 
Testament (NIV), highlighting the phrases most pertinent to 
us for this discussion. 

26 The reading "deceptions" (apatais) is supported mainly by the 
Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus (before correction) MSS, whereas the reading 
"love-feasts" (agapais) is supported mainly by the Vaticanus and Alexandrinus 
(after correction) MSS. 


(17) In the following directives I have no praise for you, 
for your meetings do more harm than good. (18) In the 
first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, 
there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe 
it. (19) No doubt there have to be differences among you 
to show which of you have God's approval. (20) When 
ycu come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, (21) 
for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for 
anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 

(22) Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you 
despise the church of God and humiliate those who have 
nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? 
Certainly not! 

(23) For I received from the Lord what I also passed on 
to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took 
bread, (24) and when he had given thanks, he broke it and 
said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remem- 
brance of me." (25) In the same way, after supper he took 
the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; 
do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 
(26) For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you 
proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. 

(27) Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks of the 
cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of 
sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. (28) A 
man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread 
and drinks of the cup. (29) For anyone who eats and drinks 
without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks 
judgment on himself. (30) That is why many among you 
are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 
(31) But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under 
judgment. (32) When we are judged by the Lord, we are 
being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the 

(33) So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, 
wait for each other. (34) If anyone is hungry, he should eat 
at home, so that when you meet together it may not result 
in judgment. 

And when I come I will give further directions. 

Several things in this text are obvious. It is certain that a 
full meal was eaten by the Corinthian church in conjunction 
with the Eucharist, regardless of whether it was the full 
church-meal itself or the manner in which they ate it that Paul 
objected to. The full church-meal is certain, regardless of 
whether Paul was outright prohibiting it (thus leaving the 
Eucharist only), somewhat limiting it (leaving only a token 
meal followed by the crowning Eucharist) , or merely regulating 
it (the rules being on the manner of observing the church-meal 
and its consummating Eucharist). In regard to this full church- 
meal, was Paul suggesting prohibition, limitation or just regula- 


tion? The last option of regulation is easily, it seems to me, the 
most consistent understanding of the text. That the Eucharist 
was part of a full church-meal is obvious from notions in the 
text such as meals at home as opposed to those with the assem- 
bled church of God (vss. 22, 34), and such notions totally 
inappropriate to the small portions of the Eucharist as hunger 
(vss. 21,34) and drunkenness (vs. 21). Further, the notion of 
the humiliation of those who have nothing (vs. 22) presupposes 
not exclusion from the Eucharist, but the poor who were not 
fed by the others who could afford to bring extra food for the 

The problem seems to center around consideration of 
others, the very heart of the love-feast. Such despite for the 
church of God (vs. 22) manifested itself by people coming in 
cliques, eating everything which they had brought for them- 
selves, not sharing it with the poor who came with nothing (vs. 
22). They were, further, contemptuous of other groups, not 
eating in unison or fellowship with them, but rather preferring 
to jump in rather than wait (vss. 21, 33). This kind of a potluck 
supper was unloving and unchristian. It was not the intended 
Lord's Supper (vs. 20). The intended Lord's Supper is one in 
which all eat and drink in remembrance of the Lord, who gave 
of Himself comDletely, both body and blood, and whose death 
they proclaim. But the Corinthian selfishness in the light of His 
selflessness was sin against the body and blood of the Lord and 
for which they were being chastened. 

How did Paul deal with this? Paul points out the very close 
connection between the love-feast and the Eucharist, which is 
its constitutive final act. He calls this evening meal (delpnon) 
the "Lord's Supper" (kuriakon deipnon), which term is already 
familiar to the Corinthians and implies an existing institution, 
namely the Eucharistic evening meal that Jesus instituted with 
His disciples the night before His death, which it proclaims. 

Was Paul now, due to abuse, prohibiting the traditional 
meal-part of the Eucharistic feast? After all, the Eucharistic 
part of our Lord's Supper does contain the moral essence of 
celebrative ingesting, the emphasis of the Agape, even though 
its own emphasis is expiation-death. Moreover, Jesus did not 
explicitly command anything but the Eucharist. Its meal- 
context, though theologically and traditionally a good inference, 
is not a necessary inference from His command. To our question 
of what did Jesus intend we add the question of what did Paul 
intend. Again our answer below is inconclusive. 

It is the opinion of many, even many who do not hold to 
the normativity of the love-feast context of the Eucharist, that 
Paul is not forbidding a full-meal celebration of the Lord's 
Supper when he says, "Don't you have homes to eat and drink 
in? ... If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home" (vss. 22,34). 


It is the view of Grosheide, for example (among many other 
commentators), which takes the word "hungry" in vs. 34 to 
mean "only hungry" or "merely hungry" so as to fit the whole 
context. "If anybody is only hungry, i.e. if he attends the meet- 
ings of the congregation only to eat and to drink and not 
to enjoy the communion of the saints, let him eat at home." 27 And 
such really fits the context, for merely the Eucharist would not 
be sufficient to meet the physical need of the poor who have 
nothing at all, and further because Paul says "when you come 
together to eat, wait for each other" (vs. 33). This is so that 
all, poor too, might have access to the food, which can be eaten 
by all at the same time and shared equally — much like our 
smooth functioning potluck suppers of today. We would put it 
this way: for those who are bent on an anti-Eucharist supper 
at church, the apostle mandates an "ante-Eucharist supper 
before church. Mere physical hunger is not sufficient prepara- 
tion to come to the Lord's table. Physical hunger does not 
disqualify, but only spiritual hunger qualifies. "But seek first 
His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall 
be added to you" (Mt. 6:33). 

There is, just barely, a middle option. It is possible that 
Paul is compromising between the two extremes of outright 
prohibition on the one hand and mere regulation on the other 
by requiring a token meal which would be sufficient in scope 
to sustain the theme of celebration, thus preparing the church 
for the solemnities of the Eucharist as the final ritual act. Such 
would somewhat relieve the burden of the church to provide 
abundance as well. The poor could eat all they want, while the 
others who had eaten their main evening meal at home, would 
partake of the token memorial at church in much the same 
fashion formally as the sacrificial offerings known as "memo- 
rial" or "token" in the Old Testament. 28 The established legal 
precedent here is obviously pars pro toto, the part for the whole. 
This, as has been already pointed out earlier in the study, 
is common in Scripture, whereby the part recalls the whole, as, 
for example, blood on the ear lobe, thumb, and large toe sym- 
bolizes the notion of being totally covered by the blood. But 
against such a supposed Pauline limitation of Corinthian prac- 
tice is the point that such an anomaly would be a token followed 
by a token. There are only two consistent approaches. One takes 
the approach of this study, viewed as more consistent with 
Leviticus, the Gospels, Acts, Corinthians and Jude, that the 

27 F. W. Grosheide, Commentary on the First Epistle to the Corin- 
thians, New International Commentary on the New Testament, F. F. Bruce, 
gen. ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 
1953), p. 277 (at 11:34). 

28 For examples, see the azkara ("token") portion offered by fire 
to the Lord (Lev. 2:2, 9, 16, 5:12, 6:8 (English 6:15), 24:7, Num. 5:26). 


Eucharist is best viewed not as a token, but as the constitutive 
final ritual act, of the Lord's Supper, and that such a full and 
celebrative Eucharistic meal was apostolic practice. The other 
approach reckons the constitutive Eucharist in moral essence 
to be a token of such a meal, and as such expresses all the fea- 
tures required by our Lord, whether or not the apostolic fellow- 
ship meal-context is imitated today. But the middle option of 
viewing both the Agape and the Eucharist as tokens would 
appear to be untheological with respect to covenant meals, and 
unexegetical with respect to First Corinthians. It is my thinking 
that only full covenant feasting completely expresses the 
traditional and intended setting for the Eucharistic elements. 
Such is consistent with the Corinthian evidence, with the Pass- 
over feasting of our Lord, and with all of the other Scriptures 

Here too, at the conclusion of the Agape, the caution must 
be given that, as in the case of the Pedilavium, normative 
(obligatory) observance of the Agape has not been proven. 
Unlike the Pedilavium, however, the evidence is more specific. 
We have apostolic practice and approval of the Agape portion 
of the Lord's Supper, though not explicit command. Such is not 
only appropriate v/orship, as in the case of the Pedilavium, but 
also apostolic worship, though perhaps not a specific command. 
While in our view restriction of the Lord's Supper to the 
Eucharist, so common today, is ritually somewhat unsatisfactory 
in that it makes the Eucharist bear too much of a liturgical load 
out of balance with its emphasis, such is nonetheless lawful, and 
representational, in a nuclear form at least, of all the sacrificial 
categories. The Agape must not be mandatory to Eucharistic 
celebration, and Eucharistic exclusivism must be tolerated and 
appreciated as fully compliant, at the very least, with the moral 
essence of New Testament teaching. The Agape, on the other 
hand, should not only be tolerated, but encouraged as the more 
Biblical expression of ritual categories and apostolic celebration. 

Trine Communion not only enjoys the distinction of being 
an ultimate in liturgical-ceremonial expressiveness conformable 
to the law of God found in the book of Leviticus but also 
an ultimate in corporate obedience beyond command to Him, the 
Power of God and the Wisdom of God, who first performed and 
uniquely embodies its three ritual acts. 

V. Practical Observations 

Here are some practical observations which, though only 
ancillary to the above discusssion, may be helpful to groups 
which observe Trine Communion. Again, they are not offered 
as a critique of existing practices, but as a functional extension 
of my own thinking. These, it seems to me, flow from the prem- 
ises demonstrated in this study, but some may in fact be merely 


my own functional preferences. I have comparatively little 
practical experience in these things, and therefore hesitate to 
offer them. But I have, nonetheless, been encouraged to do so 
since variety already exists in current practice, and discussion 
does take place. These suggestions, it is hoped, will facilitate 
the discussion, not diminish it. 

A. Sequence 

This study has shown that Jesus washed His disciples feet 
during the evening meal (Jn. 13:2), from which He rose (vs. 4), 
and at which He later reclined again (vss. 12, 26). 29 The 
Eucharist, of course, followed. It would seem that the most 
appropriate sequence for celebrating Trine Communion would 
be A + P + E (Agape + Pedilavium + Eucharist), or 
A-P-A + E (i.e. the Pedilavium being celebrated during the 
Agape, small groups going and coming in succession). The 
former praxis (A + P -\- E) creates less motion and distrac- 
tion, and allows the stewards in attendance over the Pedilavium 
to participate fully in the Agape. Both have the ceremonial 
advantage of conducting both the Pedilavium and Eucharist 
in a context of feasting and celebration important to both the 
Old Testament Passover and New Testament Agape. Such 
festivity not only heightens the climactic solemnities of the 
Eucharist, but in a very natural and friendly way provides a 
"warming-up" process which establishes an easing social base 
for the intimacy of the Pedilavium. And most obviously, both 
forms of initial Agape permit hot covered dishes to be eaten 
while they are still warm. The sequence P + A -(- E, however, 
with initial Pedilavium, does not have that social and cere- 
monial advantage, and is least imitative of the account in 
John's Gospel. This P + A + E sequence does, however, like 
A -(- P + E, solve the problem of steward absence, and clearly 
provides the feast-context for the Eucharist itself. It unfor- 

29 Jesus washed the feet of all twelve of His disciples (vss. 10-12, 
18), including Judas Iscariot who had not yet left the room (vss. 21, 26-27, 
30). As a matter of fact, it appears that the traitor also partook of the Euch- 
aristic bread and cup, since according to Lk. 22:20-21 it was just after the 
words of institution that Jesus said, "But behold, the hand of the one be- 
traying Me is with Me on the table" (vs. 22). Jn. 13:30 is not really in con- 
tradiction with this which says of Judas, "And so after receiving the morsel 
he went out immediately (euthus); and it was night." Dipping the morsel 
was earlier in the Seder than the terminal Eucharist. But the word "imme- 
diately" (euthus) need not be translated so. This temporal adverb can defin- 
itely have an inferential use, meaning "then" (e.g. Mk. 1:21, 23; see the 
Bauer- Arndt-Gingrich Greek-English Lexicon, p. 321b). After the morsel, 
he then went out (John omits the Eucharist facts which intervened; in fact, 
John omits the words of institution entirely). It appears that the traitor left 
very soon after the Eucharist, but before the Farewell Discourses of Jn. 14- 
17 (cf. 18:1-3). 


tunately is usually limited to a token evening meal, such as 
sandwiches and fruit, without hot food. This token is often 
provided by the institution and thus for some celebrants has 
less consecration symbolism, since in the potluck situation 
celebrants bring their dishes for others to enjoy in mutual gift 
and sharing. 

Before leaving the subject of sequence, a word of clarifi- 
cation might be in order. The reason this study discussed the 
New Testament rituals in the sequence Eucharist + Pedila- 
vium -f Agape (rather than A + P + E) was that such a 
sequence merely followed the sacrificial categories of the book 
of Leviticus, namely expiation + consecration -J- celebration. 
As to the question why did Jesus, in divine wisdom, invert the 
logical and ceremonial order of expiation -f- consecration + 
celebration to become celebration + consecration + expiation 
(i.e. the expected *E -f- P + A in fact becoming A + P + E), 
one can only guess. His Passover being lambless on Maundy 
Thursday as either an anticipative or rival Passover (the temple 
lamb being slain on Good Friday while He was being crucified) , 
gave Him the opportunity to dramatically declare to His dis- 
ciples that He Himself is the Lamb of God. It is lawful to guess, 
even further, as to why Jesus disclosed this at the end of the 
Passover meal. Perhaps He wanted to specifically utilize the 
symbolism of the (third) redemption cup, and consciously post- 
pone the fourth cup of kingdom consummation. Finally, such 
a sequence (A + P + E) not only climactically declares that 
expiation-redemption has finally come for the salvation of the 
world, but obversely also changes the tone and setting of Old 
Testament covenant meal to the New Testament rejoicing 
evermore. In other words, just as the curse-emphasis of circum- 
cision (excision or cleansing) became the blessing-emphasis 
(bathing or drowning) of baptism, so the terminal celebration 
of Old Covenant meal became the initial celebration of New 
Covenant meal. The jubilee has come, the acceptable year of 
the Lord when all the captives are set free. Today is the day of 
salvation. All ritual acts of the New Covenant are in a setting 
and tone of joy unspeakable and full of glory. This new emphasis 
of abundant joy in life and ceremony is due to the wonderful 
fact that the long-awaited Messiah has indeed come. "And the 
angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you 
good news of great joy which shall be for all people; for today 
in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior who 
is Messiah-Lord (Christos-Kurios)' " (Lk. 2:10,11). As His 
guests we take our meals together with gladness (Acts 2:46). 

B. Manner 

It is my personal belief that Trine Communion is more 
expressive, fulfilling and worshipful when each of the following 


items occurs in abundance: food, singing, and conversation. 
The food presents a marvelous opportunity for variety, and 
changes should be made often in the nature of the meal. Some 
occasions, perhaps seasonal, could be designed to be imitative 
of either regular Passover courses or creative Chavurah stages 
(such as the dipping of bread in broth) punctuated with the 
Law, the Psalter and spontaneous singing. Other occasions, 
conversely, could be of marked simplicity and convenience, 
closer to a lunch than a dinner. The mean, it would seem, could 
be the festive potluck, whose main feature is the sheer goodness 
and variety of so many homemade dishes, a quasi-smorgasbord 
of coordinated tender loving care. Just as the Passover enjoyed 
interspersed psalms of praise, so can one who presides lead 
several brief and intermittent songs fully familiar to the group. 
It helps too for the one who presides to encourage the group, 
perhaps at the opening prayer of thanksgiving, to speak to one 
another about the things of the Lord, including anything that 
will edify the body in the faith. In a word, the key, even unique 
opportunity, as I see it, is variety. The Lord has given 
us an instrument that is fully capable of such. The common 
denominator is that these are all Eucharistic meals, culminating 
in memorialized body and blood. 

Abundance also implies frequency. It seems to me that it 
would be a greater good for us to celebrate Eucharistic meals 
much more frequently than it would be to observe the Pedilavium 
on each occasion. It seems totally illogical to me personally to 
believe that the ceremonial washing of feet took place at every 
instance (or even the majority of times) of those many 
Eucharistic meals mentioned in Acts and Corinthians. Rigidity 
at this point, in any case, clearly causes Trine-Communion 
groups to have infrequent Holy Communion (2, 3, or at most 
4 times annually), due to its length and involved richness. The 
same would be true, to a lesser degree, of always having the 
Eucharist in the context of a meal. The difference is a couple of 
minutes or more as oposed to a couple of hours or less. It prob- 
ably was just this convenience that caused the early church to 
move in the direction of exclusive Eucharistic celebration, 
rather than a rejection of the meal-idea. Rigidity will not sell 
the meal-idea, but variety will definitely heighten the fuller 
expressions of meal, and of feet-washing. Considering the great- 
est good of the Eucharist (granted by all), and the total worth 
of perpetuating the full expression of Trine Communion (herein 
defended), and considering the points made about variety and 
liturgical creativity, this writer, to state just one man's prefer- 
ences, would like to see pastors set the goal, if only experimen- 
tally, of having the Eucharist twelve times a year (monthly), 
four of which are to be Eucharistic meals (quarterly), and two 
of which are to be full Trine Communion services (biannually) . 


Most would prefer that one of these Trine Communion services 
be held sometime during the Lenten season. Due to the complexity 
of modern work and scheduling, with the necessity of meeting 
the greatest number of needs and circumstances of work and 
worship, variety in times of Eucharistic worship seems prefer- 
able, but Eucharistic meals in the evening and mere Eucharistic 
elements in the morning would be common. Such should enable 
all to come to the Lord's table with increased frequency. 


200 Seminary Drive 

Winona Lake. IN 46530 





R9! '9h n 

land Theological 


■ /jtfftll 

Emmanuel School of Religion iiJjrary 

Ashland Theological Seminary 

Ashland, Ohio 

Spring 1979 

Ashland Theological Seminary 
Ashland, Ohio 


Spring, 1979 


Introduction to the Current Issue 

by Charles H. Kraft 

1. God's Model for Communication 3 

2. The Credibility of the Message and the Messenger - 17 

3. What is the Receptor Up To? 33 

4. The Power of Life Involvement 43 

Editorial Committee: Owen H. Alderfer, Editor 

Joseph N. Kickasola 
Joseph R. Shultz, Vice President 

Vol. XII No. 1 

Published by Ashland Theological Seminary, Ashland, Ohio 44805 

Introduction to the Current Issue 

"Communicating the Gospel God's Way" is the focus of the 
issue of the Ashland Theological Bulletin for 1979. The creative 
material by Charles H. Kraft appearing here was presented as 
the Workman Lectures at Ashland Theological Seminary, 
November 20 through 22, 1978. Dr. Kraft, who combines 
specializations in anthropology and linguistics, applies his rich 
resources to process and impact in communicating. These chap- 
ters, perceptive with insight and profound with understanding, 
offer both guidance and challenge to people for whom effective 
communication is important. 

Charles H. Kraft, a 1960 graduate, was named "Alumnus of 
the Year" by Ashland Theological Seminary in 1978. He received 
the B.A. degree from Wheaton College with major work in 
anthropology and did graduate work in linguistics at the Univer- 
sity of Oklahoma before completing his B.D. at Ashland in 
1960. The writer received the Ph. D. degree from Hartford 
Seminary Foundation in 1963 with an emphasis on anthropo- 
logical linguistics. 

Dr. Kraft is currently professor of anthropology at Fuller 
Theological Seminary, School of World Mission in Pasadena, 
California. He served as missionary with the Brethren Church 
in northern Nigeria from 1957 to 1960. He has returned to 
Africa on many occasions as a field linguistic and ethnological 
researcher on Chadic languages and received a Fulbright-Hays 
Center Faculty Award for the study of Chadic languages. 

The writer is one of the principal authors for studies in the 
Hausa language. He has published numerous articles and spoken 
widely concerning practical anthropology, African languages, 
Christianity and culture, cross-cultural communication, mission- 
aries and indigeneity, and general Bible translation. 

Dr. Kraft, an ordained minister in the Brethren Church, 
his wife Marguerite, and their four children reside in Pasadena. 


God's Model For Communication 

AS ONE who specializes in communication and Bible 
translation I am increasingly fascinated by the communica- 
tional dimensions of the Word of God. I am, of course convinced 
that God knew what He was doing communicationally. I am, 
however, surprised that it has taken us so long to look at the 
Bible from this point of view. For generations, we who seek to 
communicate God's Word have looked to the Bible for our 
message. I am afraid, though, that we have seldom looked to 
the Bible for our method. I have become personally convinced 
that the inspiration of the Bible extends both to message and 
to method. My aim in this chapter, therefore, is to elucidate a 
scriptural method for getting God's message across that I dare 
to call "God's Model for Communication." 

Though I will be talking about what I believe to be a method 
of approach that we see from cover to cover in the Bible, 
it might be helpful, by way of introduction, for me to point to 
a couple of scripture verses which, if translated from a commun- 
icational point of view, lend support to the point I am trying to 
make. Look, for example, at Mark 16:15. It is, I think, allowable 
to translate this verse: "Go into all the world to communicate 
the Good News to all peoples." The word "preach" that is 
ordinarily used in English translations of this verse is only one 
way of communicating. Indeed it is a form of communication 
that Jesus used very seldom. I will deal more with this point in 
Chapter 4. Suffice it to say here that we are commanded by God 
not simply to monologue his Word but to communicate it as 
effectively as possible. A second illustrative verse is John 1:14. 
In this verse the Greek word logos, ordinarily translated "word" 
is employed. I believe it would not be doing the verse an injustice 
to suggest the following translation: "the (meaning God's) 
message became a human being to live among us." I will be 
alluding to other passages of Scripture as I go along but I 
wanted to point briefly to these verses at the beginning of my 

presentation to alert us to the fact that, in the first place, God 
is concerned about communication and that, in the second place, 
God's ultimate method of communication is via incarnation. 

Now the problem I want to raise is: How can we follow 
God's example in our efforts to communicate his Good News? 
God has, of course, communicated very effectively. He has, 
furthermore, involved us in the contemporary phase of His 
communicatonal efforts. How then can we learn to involve our- 
selves in His work in His way? We do not believe that God simply 
overrules our humanity to make us into communicational robots. 
We believe that He leads us as we participate with Him in such 
activities. We believe also that we need to do our best to learn 
how He wants us to conduct ourselves so that we may be of 
greater service to Him. We may, therefore, analyze God's com- 
municational activities as portrayed for us in the Scriptures in 
order to learn how He goes about His work so that we will know 
better how to go about our work for Him. 

Another way of putting this is to use a term that is increas- 
ingly coming into prominence in Bible translation theory. This 
term is "dynamic equivalence." Our aim communicationally is 
to perform in a way this is dynamically equivalent to God's 
communicational activity as portrayed in the Scripture. A 
dynamic equivalence Bible translation is a translation that has 
the kind of communicational impact on today's hearers that the 
original Scriptures had on the original hearers. Such translations 
as Phillips, Good News for Modern Man, and Living Bible have 
often had such an impact in contemporary English. If you can 
imagine yourself communicating the messages that God gives 
you as effectively as these translations communicate the Scrip- 
tural message, you will have a glimpse at least of what I am 
talking about as the goal of Christian communication. 

Preliminary Observations Concerning God and 
His Communicative Activity 

The first thing I would like to deal with in this regard is 
to suggest six preliminary observations concerning God's com- 
munication. I believe that these observations apply to all of 
Scripture. I also believe that if we seek to be Scriptural in our 
communicative activity, we will seek to imitate God in each of 
these areas. 

In the first place, I would like to suggest that God seeks to 
communicate, not simply to impress people, You have all had 
the experience of sitting in church and hearing a soloist or an 
organist or even a preacher show off in front of you. You may 

have expected that they were going to communicate some 
message to you but, as they got into their performances, you 
began to realize that they were seeking only to impress you. 
They were of course communicating something, but that com- 
munication had more to do with their own ability than with any- 
thing they were talking, singing, or playing about. They seemed 
to be more interested in impressing people than in communicat- 
ing with people. One basic principle of communication that is 
involved in such a situation is that when a vehicle of commun- 
ication calls attention to itself, the message is lost. If, therefore, 
in a situation such as the preaching, singing, or organ playing 
situation, we become more aware of the performer's ability to 
perform than of the message he is seeking to get across, 
then the situation becomes a performance rather than a 

What I'm suggesting is that God communicates not simply 
performs. Throughout the Bible He uses language that does not 
call attention to itself. He uses people who do not call attention 
to themselves. In fact, when, as in the case of Saul these people 
begin to call attention to themselves, they become unfit for God's 
service. Likewise with respect to Bible translation, where the 
beauty of the language calls such attention to itself that it 
obscures the message. The Scriptures in the original languages 
are fairly unimpressive from a literary point of view. Jesus, 
when He walked the earth was also, apparently, fairly unim- 
pressive personally. But His message had great impact. 

Secondly, God wants to be understood not simply admired. 
God, of course, is impressive. He is, of course, to be admired. 
But there is a sense in which if we focus on merely admiring 
God, His ultimate purpose in interacting with human beings is 
thwarted. Some would seem to give the impression that God has 
an enormous ego that demands that people sit around admiring 
Him at all times. This seems to be the way in which many define 
worship. Without denying the value for us of contemplating 
God's greatness and of worshipping Him, however, I would like 
to suggest that His greater desire is that we understand and 
obey Him. Though not infrequently what God says and does is 
difficult for us to understand, God's ultimate purpose 

is not "to mystify the truth" but to reveal it, not to hide verities 
behind historical accounts, but to face man with the truth in any 
and all literary forms which they can understand (Nida 1960:223). 

As pointed out above it is in order to be understood that 
God used human language. It is to be understood that He took 

on human shape, both in the incarnation and in the Old Testa- 
ment theophanies (e.g., Genesis 18, Daniel 3:25). It is to be 
understood that God used dreams to reach those who believed 
in dreams and parables to reach those who had become accus- 
tomed to being taught through parables. On occasion God 
communicates through a spectacle (e.g. I Kings 19:11 & 12). 
But the spectacle is not an end in itself, it is merely the means 
to the end of effective communication that God employs in order 
to be understood. Likewise with miracles. John points to this 
fact by constantly labeling Jesus' miracles "signs." They are 
intended to point beyond themselves, to communicate something, 
so that God's message can be understood. This is why Jesus ran 
from those who were only interested in the spectacle for its own 
sake, but spent countless hours with those who got at least part 
of the message. He sought to be understood, and responded to 
those who responded to what he was seeking to communicate. 
In the third place, let us note that God seeks response from 
his hearers not simply passive listening. This is a corollary to 
God's desire to communicate and to be understood. Communica- 
tion implies response. When God commands people he expects 
them to respond. God's promises to people typically require a 
response on their part. Proper response in turn, elicits further 
interaction between God and human beings. Indeed, God's inter- 
actions with human beings are characteristically in the form of 
dialog, rather than monolog. The Bible, from beginning to end, 
represents God as seeking conversation with people. And such 
conversation demands responsiveness on the part of human 
beings. We are not simply to sit like bumps on logs listening to 
God without responding to him. To quote Nida again 

The entire concept of the covenant of God with man is predicated 
upon two way communication, even though it is God who proposes 
and man who accepts. Of course, in Jesus Christ the "dialogue" 
of God with man is evident in all of its fullness, but the divine 
human conversation is eternal, for the end of man is for fellowship 
and communion with God himself, and for this the communica- 
tion of "dialogue" is an indispensible and focal element 

A fourth preliminary point is the suggestion that God has 
revealed in the scripture not only what to communicate, but how 
to communicate it. I will not seek to elaborate this point at this 
time. I simply want to make the point explicit and to suggest 
that if what I have said above and what I will say below is true, 
this point is established. 

My fifth preliminary point is to suggest that God is receptor 
oriented. In the communication process we have three basic 

elements: the communicator, the message and the receptor. The 
communicator, as he engages in the process of communication, 
may have his attention focused on any of the three elements. 
That is, he may focus so intently on himself and what he is doing 
in the situation that he is virtually unaware of exactly what he 
is saying or of who he is attempting to say it to. Or he may be 
so focused in on what he is saying that he virtually forgets both 
himself and his receptors. Or, in the third place, he may so focus 
on his receptors, their concerns and the value of what he is say- 
ing to them, that his concern for himself and those aspects of 
the message that are not relevant to his hearers is diminished. 
This latter is what I mean by the term receptor oriented. Each 
of these approaches involves all three elements. They differ only 
with respect to which of the elements is in primary focus. 

The communicator whose primary focus is himself tends to 
show off. One who seeks to impress people with his own abilities 
in order that they will admire him tends to fall into this trap. 
It may matter little to him whether people understand what he 
says or if they benefit from it. His concern is to be admired. The 
communicator who is message centered, on the other hand, gives 
great attention to the way the message is phrased. His concern 
is for precise terminology and correct wording on the one hand, 
and for and elegantly constructed, well balanced presentation 
of the message on the other. Again, the concern is less for 
whether the receptors understand the message than for the 
presumed accuracy of the formulation of that message. His 
tendency will be to resort to technically precise language, 
whether or not such language is intelligible to his listeners, and 
to homiletically perfect organization, whether or not his listeners 
are most attracted to that kind of a message. A receptor oriented 
communicator, on the other hand, is careful to bend every effort 
to meet his receptors where they are. He will choose topics that 
relate directly to the felt needs of the receptors, he will choose 
methods of presentation that are appealing to them, he will use 
language that is maximally intelligible to them. 

What I am suggesting is that God's communication shows 
that he is squarely in the latter position. He is primarily oriented 
toward getting his message into the minds and hearts of his 
receptors. That is, the methods chosen, the language employed, 
the topics dealt with, the places and times where he encounters 
human beings and all other factors indicate that God is receptor 
oriented. He does not, of course, always say what people like to 
hear. That is not required of one who is receptor oriented. The 
point is that whatever he says, whether it is pleasant or unpleas- 

ant, is presented in ways and via techniques that have maximum 
relevance to the receptors. They do not have to go somewhere 
else, learn someone else's language, or become something other 
than they already are as a precondition to hearing his message. 
The message itself, of course, may require that they go some- 
where else or become something else, but they are not required 
to make these adjustments before they can understand what 
God is saying to them. I will elaborate further on this point 

In the sixth place, I'd like to suggest that God's basic 
method of communication is incarnational. Though the ultimate 
incarnation of God's communication was in Jesus Christ, God's 
method of using human beings to reach other human beings is 
also an incarnational method. In a real sense, everyone who is 
transformed by the power of God and genuinely lives his witness 
to Christ is an incarnation of God's message to human beings. 
It is not, I think, without significance that the early Christians 
at Antioch were called "little Christs," "Christians." God's 
witnesses are called by Paul "letters that have come from 
Christ," (II Corinthians 3:3). This is incarnational communica- 
tion. And even the Bible, since it consists almost entirely of case 
studies of such incarnations of God's communications, may be 
seen as an incarnational document. 

God's Approach: A Model for Us to Imitate 

I would now like to turn to ten characteristics of God's 
communication. In doing this I have in mind three primary aims : 
to describe at least certain of the characteristics of God's com- 
municational activity, to point out how well these correspond 
with the insights of modern communication theory, and to 
suggest that each characteristic is something that we ought to 
imitate in our attempts to communicate on God's behalf. I make 
no apology for the fact that these characteristics frequently 
take us into territory already covered in the above list of pre- 
liminary observations. Those broader observations and these 
narrower characteristics are, after all, simply alternative ways 
of viewing the same territory. 

1. The first characteristic to note is that God commun- 
icates with impact. Impact is that which makes an impression, 
that gets people up doing things in response to what has been 
communicated to them. To get an idea of the kind of impact that 
God's communication had on people, we might simply ask our- 
selves what it would take to get us to do some of the things that 

the people of Scripture did. What would it take to stimulate 
Abraham to leave home, country, family and all that was familiar 
to him? What was it that impelled Moses to stand up against 
Pharoah? What transformed the prophets, or the disciples, or 
Paul? The Holy Spirit was involved to be sure. But they were 
human beings who responded to communicational stimuli just 
like we do. So our questions concern not whether or not the Holy 
Spirit was involved, but what kind of response they as human 
beings had to the communicational techniques that God employed 
with them. The point is that they received God's communication 
with the kind of impact that impelled them to things that the 
world might regard as strange. 

Now, we have learned to think of communication as largely 
a matter of the tranfer of information from communicator to 
receptor. We set up schools, we write books and articles, we 
preach sermons, in order to buy and sell information. When we 
go to school, read books or go to church, we are rather like the 
Athenians about whom it is recorded that they were primarily 
concerned with "talking or hearing about the latest novelty" 
(Acts 17:21). If we hear a lecture or a sermon or read a book 
that disappoints us we very often express our criticism by say- 
ing, "I didn't learn anything new." But the primary aim of God's 
communication, and hopefully of ours, is not simply to inform. 
It is to stimulate people to action. And when, via sermonizing, 
God's message is reduced to mere information about God rather 
than the passing on of stimulus from God, I wonder if we have 
not thwarted His purpose to some extent ? The God who, through 
communicational channels, has had such an impact on our lives 
that we are in the process of transformation, desires that we 
communicate for him with a similar kind of impact. The char- 
acteristics by means of which He brings about that impact are 
delineated in the next nine points. 

2. To create communicational impact, God takes the 
initiative. God does not simply sit there unconcerned. When 
Adam and Eve got into difficulty, God took the initiative and 
went to where they were to initiate the communication that 
would enable them to at least know how to get out of their 
situation. When he decided to destroy mankind, God initiated 
communication with Noah. Likewise with Abraham, Moses, and 
with person after person throughout Scripture. In Christ, God 
took the initiative that resulted both in His most significant 
communication and in salvation for humanity. We learn, there- 
fore, that as communicators from God, the initiative lies with us. 

3. When God seeks to communicate He moves into the 
receptor's frame of reference. I use the term "frame of refer- 
ence" to designate the combination of things such as culture, 
language, space, time, etc., that make up the matrix within which 
the receptor operates. Each person operates within several 
frames of reference simultaneously. At one level, every person 
is in his own frame of reference defined by those psychological, 
physiological and life history characteristics that make him 
uniquely different from every other individual in the world. At 
another level, however, each person shares with many other 
people a language, a culture, a geographical area, a time frame, 
and many other similar characteristics. If, therefore, a commun- 
icator is to be understood by his hearers, he will have to start 
by employing such definers of broader frames of reference as the 
same language, similar thought patterns, and the like and 
proceed to demonstrate a concern for the characteristics that 
define narrower frames of reference such as the personal 
interests and needs of the receptor. 

Not infrequently, especially when the communicator has 
some power over the receptors, the communicator will designate 
his own frame of reference as that within which the commun- 
ication must take place. He may, for example, use a technical 
type of language that he understands well but that loses his 
receptors. Professors and preachers often do just this when they 
use the jargon and thought patterns of the academic discipline 
that they have studied when talking to people who are not 
normally a part of that frame of reference. Those who train for 
the ministry by going to seminary often get into the language 
and thought patterns of the seminary to such an extent that it 
may never occur to them that what they have learned needs 
translation into the language and thought patterns of their 
receptors if it is to have the desired impact on them. Many 
preachers, in fact, spend a large part of their ministries preach- 
ing to their homiletics professors. They have not learned that 
they need to use a different style to reach the people in their 
pews, so they simply continue to speak within the frame of 
reference that they learned to use in seminary. 

God, however, is not like that. He uses the language and 
thought patterns of those to whom He speaks. He could have 
constructed a heavenly language and required that we all learn 
that language in order to hear what he has to say to us. He has 
the power to do that. But He uses that power to adapt to us, to 
enter our frame of reference, rather than to extract us from our 


frame of reference into something that He has constructed. He 
has, apparently, no holy language, no holy culture, no sacred set 
of cultural and linguistic patterns that He endorses to the 
exclusion of all other patterns. He moves into the cultural and 
linguistic water in which we are immersed in order to make 
contact with us. 

4. God's communication has great impact, furthermore, 
because it is personal. Unlike modern Americans, God refuses 
to mechanize communication. If He had asked our advice 
concerning how to win the world, we might well have suggested 
that He use microphones and loud speakers. Or, perhaps, we 
would have suggested that He write a book, or at least go on a 
lecture tour where He would be able to monolog with thousands 
of people at a time. But the God who could have done it any way 
He wanted turned away from such mass impersonal techniques 
to use human beings to reach each other human beings and, 
ultimately, to become a human being himself. And as a human 
being He spent time with a small number of other human beings, 
running away from crowds in order to maximize the person to 
person nature of his interaction with that handful of disciples. 
We have much to learn from God's method at this point. 

5. God's communication, then, is interactional. Note in 
your own experience the difference of impact between an imper- 
sonal, mass communication type of situation and a person to 
person interactional type of situation. I'm really impressed with 
how little Jesus monologed. And our misunderstanding of his 
communication that leads us to recommend monolog preaching 
as if this were God's method disturbs me greatly. In the name 
of Jesus Christ who seldom monologued we recommend monolog 
preaching as the appropriate method of communication ! It seems 
to me utterly inexcusable for our Bible translators to reduce the 
nearly thirty Greek words used in the New Testament for 
communication to two words in English: preach and proclaim. 
But this is what has been done in most of our English transla- 
tions. If one term is to be used in English, that term should be 
"communicate", not preach or proclaim, both of which signify 
monolog presentation. I am afraid we have not imitated Jesus in 
church communication nearly so much as we have imitated the 
Greek love for oratory. Jesus seldom, if ever, monologued. He 
interacted. I will say more about this in chapter 4. 

6. A further characteristic of effective communication 
that God employs is that He goes beyond the predictable and 
the stereotype in his communicative efforts. It seems that in all 


interaction, including communication, people either have or 
develop well defined expectations concerning other people. These 
expectations are defined in terms of such things as role relation- 
ships, age differences, linguistic and cultural factors and the 
like. On the basis of our previous experience with people in such 
categories, then, we develop stereotypes in terms of which we 
predict what is likely to happen when we interact with people 
who fit into a given category. When our prediction comes true — 
that is, when the person acts according to our expectations — 
the communicational impact of whatever that person says or 
does is very low. If, on the other hand, that person acts or speaks 
in a way that is unexpected in terms of the stereotype, the 
communicational impact is much greater. The principle may be 
stated as follows : if within a given frame of reference the infor- 
mation communicated is predictable, the impact of the commun- 
ication will be low. If, however, within that frame of reference 
the information communicated is unpredictable, the impact of 
the communication will be high. 

That's why, in Phillipians 2:5-8, we see Jesus going through 
a two-step process. He could easily have become man, and, as 
man, simply announced that he was God. But reading between 
the lines of the passage, we see that as a human being he refused 
to demand the respect that he had a right to demand. He refused 
to use his title. Nobody was going to call him Reverend or 
Doctor. They did eventually call him Rabbi, but they learned 
to call him Rabbi on the basis of what he earned, rather than 
on the basis of what he demanded. And I think this is a critical 
difference. Jesus established his credibility, earned his respect, 
by what he did within the receptors' frame of reference. He called 
himself man (i.e., Son of man) until they recognized him as God. 
And even when the disciples recognized that he was God, he 
forbad them to use that title for him. I believe he did not want 
others to use a title that he had not earned in interaction with 
them anymore than he wanted the disciples to. People have, of 
course, well defined stereotypes of God. If, for example, he had 
remained in his predictable glory or even, as a man, associated 
predictably with the powerful, the elite, the religiously safe 
people, the impact of what he sought to communicate would have 
been comparatively small. But he went beyond the predictable 
stereotypes at point after point and thereby increased enorm- 
ously the impact of his communication. He went beyond the 
predictable to become a human being, and then even as a human 
being went beyond the predictable to become a commoner, and 
then as a commoner chose to associate with tax collectors and 


prostitutes, to go to such places as a raucous wedding feast and 
even to submit to a criminal's death. 

As human beings, we too are boxed into stereotypes by 
those who interact with us. We are stereotyped according to 
our age group, whatever titles we possess, the kinds of people 
we associate with, the kinds of places we go to, etc. If we have 
a title such as Reverend or Doctor, if we fit into a category such 
as student or teacher, if we are male or if we are female, people 
will relate to us according to their expectations of the category 
by means of which they label us. And it is unlikely that they will 
pay much attention to the messages that we seek to commun- 
icate as long as those messages are according to their expec- 
tations from a person in our category. If, for example, we are 
known to them as Christians," and we say the kinds of things 
that they expect Christians to say, they may discount most or 
all of what we say. The impact of the communication will, 
however, be quite different if they find that we care for them 
more than they expect Christians to care for them or if we relate 
to them in a more genuine manner than they expect. 

7. God's communication, then, goes beyond generalities to 
become very specific to real life. And such specificity increases 
the impact of these messages. Many general messages are, of 
course, quite true. The general message, "God is love," for 
example, is unquestionably true. But his love put in the form of 
such a general statement has very little communicational impact. 
His love put in the form of a specific Christian individual, min- 
istering to the specific needs of someone in need, however, has 
great impact. Even in language, the difference in impact between 
the statement, "God loves everyone," and, "God loves me," is 
great. Note in this regard the great difference in impact between 
the statement of a major point in a sermon and a well chosen 
illustration of that point that applies it to the real life situation 
of the hearers. 

Jesus frequently used true to life stories that we call 
parables to specifically relate his teachings to the lives of his 
hearers. When someone asked him, "who is my neighbor?", he 
employed the parable of the Good Samaritan to make his teach- 
ing specific. When he sought to communicate truth concerning 
God as a loving father, he told the story we know as the parable 
of the Prodigal Son. He continually taught his disciples by 
dealing specifically with the life in which they were involved. 
He taught us all by ministering specifically to the needs of those 
around him. And the Bible that records these events is charac- 


terized by the specific life relatedness of a casebook. If God had 
communicated in our way, he might have written a theology 
textbook. Textbooks are noted for the large number of general 
and technical statements that they make concerning their subject 
matter. A casebook, however, is characterized by the kind of 
specificity to real life that the Bible is full of. The Biblical 
accounts concern specific people in specific times and places with 
specific needs that are dealt with by means of specific inter- 
actions with God. God, in his communication, goes beyond the 
general to the specific. So should we. 

8. God's communication invites personal discovery: The 
most impactful kind of learning is that that comes to us via 
discovery. In our western educational procedures, however, we 
seem to go largely against this principle. As a teacher, I'm 
supposed to predigest the material that I want to communicate 
to you and to simply dish it out for you in a form that requires 
little effort on your part. In school, we get predigested lectures 
followed by testing techniques designed to force you to get that 
material first into our notebooks, then from our notes into our 
heads. Our churches have been patterned after the lecture 
procedures of our classroom except that in church we give no 
exams. This means that church communication is largely ineffec- 
tive, since it imitates the predigestion method of the schools but 
does not include the testing technique that is counted on to at 
least partially compensate for the lack of discovery involved in 
this kind of communication. 

Note, for example, the difference between your ability to 
remember those things that someone simply tells you and your 
ability to remember those things that you discover on your own. 
Jesus specialized not in predigesting information in order to 
present it to his hearers in bite size chunks, but in leading his 
hearers to discovery. This is why his answers were so often in 
form of questions. This is also why his hearers often found him 
to be difficult. When John the Baptist was in prison and sent 
his disciples to Jesus to ask if he was indeed the coming Messiah, 
Jesus did not give him a straight predigested answer. His 
answer was designed to lead John to a life transforming dis- 
covery. Likewise with Pilate when he asked Jesus if he was 
indeed the king of the Jews. Jesus seems to respect people too 
much to simply give them a predigested answer. I believe again, 
that the casebook format of the Bible is designed to lead us into 
impactful discovery learning that will transform our lives, rather 
than to simply increase our store of information concerning God. 


9. A ninth characteristic of God's communicative activity 
is that He invites the receptor to identify with Himself. In 
incarnation God identifies with the receptor. By so doing, how- 
ever, he makes it possible for the receptor to complete what 
might be thought of as the communicational circle. That is, when 
the communicator gets close enough to the receptor to identify 
with him, the receptor is able to identify, in turn, with the 
communicator. As receptors, we seem to be able to understand 
messages best when we perceive that the communicator knows 
where we are. If he is able to get into our frame of reference, 
to establish his own personal credibility with us, to get to 
specific messages that show us he knows where we are, then we 
will find our ability to relate to him and to his message greatly 
enhanced. When the communicator relates to us in such a way 
that we can say, "I'm just like that," the impact of his message 
on us is greatly increased. That is why it is so tragic when 
a preacher puts himself so high above his people that they can't 
identify with him. They may feel that he is not where they are 
and cannot understand them well enough to say anything helpful 
to them. 

How, for example, do you respond when someone from the 
Kennedy family talks about poverty? We are likely to dismiss 
whatever they say on this subject on the assumption that they 
have never had to experience what they are talking about. On 
the other hand, how do we react when we hear a member of that 
same family talking about suffering and death ? At this point we 
are likely to have quite a different attitude, since we know that 
they have experienced great tragedy in these areas and have, 
therefore, earned their right to speak to us concerning them. 
Before God came to earth in Jesus Christ, how credible was any- 
thing he had to say concerning human life? It is all quite 
different now, however. For we know that Jesus lived and 
learned and suffered and died as one of us. Because, therefore, 
he identified with us, we can relate to him. We could not 
identify with a book or a loud speaker, only with a human being. 
When, therefore, he says, live as I have lived, suffer as I have 
suffered, give as I have given, we can follow him. 

10. The tenth characteristic of God's communication is that 
He communicates with such impact that people give themselves 
in commitment to His cause. This is an indication of the ultimate 
in impactful communication. It is not difficult to communicate 
simple information. It is only slightly more difficult to commun- 
icate in such a way that the receptor gets excited about what he 


has heard. But to communicate in such a way that the receptor 
leaves what he is doing and commits himself to the cause of the 
communicator, this is the ultimate indication of communicational 
impact. Jesus said to the disciples, "commit yourselves to me." 
And they did, even to the extent that they defied the whole 
Roman empire. That's impact. That's the kind of communicator 
God is. And it is His example that we need to follow in 
our communicational efforts — not to get people to follow us but 
to mediate God's communication in such a way that they will 
follow Him. 



The Credibility of the Message 
and the Messenger 

What I want to do in this chapter is to elaborate on, apply 
and extend the principles that I pointed to in Chapter 1. The 
special focus of Chapter 1 was on the activity of God in 
communication. The focus of this chapter is to deal a bit more 
with the question of what we need to do to imitate God's model. 
I am excited at this point in my life about the fact that Jesus 
not only died for us but that He lived for us. Among the many 
aspects of His life that we ought to imitate is the communica- 
tional example that He set. I finished Chapter 1 with the 
contention that the ultimate impact of communication is to get 
the receptor to give himself for the cause of the communicator. 
God's communication, has of course, had that kind of impact 
on many of us in many areas of our lives. A large part of that 
cause, and therefore our commitment is communicational. 

In I Corinthians 11:1, the Apostle Paul made what seems 
to be an arrogant statement. He said, "Imitate me as I imitate 
Christ." He put himself squarely on the line by making a state- 
ment like that. He did not say, as I have heard many contem- 
porary preachers say, "Lord, don't let them see me, let them 
see Jesus only." Paul seems to know that if his hearers were 
going to see Jesus at all, it had to be through him, not apart 
from him. That is, as a communicator, one who stands before 
people with a message to get across to them one cannot avoid 
the fact that the process of winning people to someone else 
involves first the winning of people to one's self. The credibility 
of the communicator is, therefore, an integral part of the effec- 
tiveness of the communicational process. The messenger is not 
separable from his message. 

Two experiences in my life have driven this point home to 
me in a remarkable way. The first was an experience I had with 
a very intelligent and otherwise perceptive seminary professor. 


Unfortunately, he did not see the close connections between 
what he was and what he said. Or, at least, he tried to avoid 
responsibility for any contradiction between his life and his 
words. What he said was, "Don't do what I do, do what I say." 
Now, fortunately, his life was not that much different from what 
he recommended. So we had little difficulty accepting both what 
he said and what he did. But the philosophy that he articulated 
is communicationally bankrupt. 

The other experience that drove the point I am trying to 
make home to me was a thought that came to me one day as I 
surveyed the territory in rural Nigeria where I served as the only 
missionary. The majority of the people there, unlike here in 
America, had never even heard the name of Jesus Christ. Thus, 
when we spoke of Him they had no background independent of 
the Christian witnesses in terms of which to judge what Jesus 
must be like. They could not read the Scriptures, they were not 
acquainted with the two thousand years of Christian history 
that are so familiar to us, they could only watch those of us who 
called ourselves Christian. As I pondered these things, the 
thought came to me that, from their point of view, I am Jesus 
Christ! And it blew my mind. I was forced to recognize that I 
stood squarely in the gap between them and God. To them Jesus 
looked like I looked, He acted like I acted, He loved like I loved, 
He spoke, He ate, He drank, He travelled, He lived as I did. If 
they were going to see the love of God that Jesus lived to 
express, they would have to see it through me. What a respon- 
sibility! And yet, such a responsibility is not unique to a 
missionary in a pioneer area of the world. It is the responsibility 
of each one of us who stands and attempts to communicate in 
Jesus' name. 

With respect to incarnation God, of course, could go much 
farther than we can. He was able to incarnate Himself as a dis- 
tinct human being in a particular language and culture of his 
choosing in such a way that he experienced the full biological 
and cultural process of birth, learning, living and death within 
that culture. We do not have such an option, given the fact that 
we have already been born into and taught by families that we 
did not have the luxury of choosing. Thus, when we seek to reach 
people who live in a frame of reference different from our own, 
we are always limited by at least two factors that Jesus did not 
experience when he participated in first century Hebrew culture. 
First of all, we have not learned the cultural basis of our 
receptors' frame of reference as children, and, secondly, we are 
always hindered in our attempts to understand our receptors 


by the fact that we have been trained into our own frame of 
reference. When speaking of human communication, therefore, 
we may better use the term "identification" rather than the term 
incarnation. We do this in recognition of the fact that the best 
we can do, even when we imitate God's incarnational approach, 
is to identify with our receptors. We can never fully enter their 
frame of reference as we might if we were born into it. Never- 
the less, even though we must settle for something less than full 
incarnation, we may imitate God's communicational approach 
by doing our best to employ God'sprinciples. We assume, of 
course, that we are also doing our best to present God's message. 

Employing God's Principles 

1. The first principle is the major principle, that of being 
receptor oriented. This principle is so important that it is worth 
the risk of my repeating a bit to elaborate some more. As I write 
this, I have to deal with the question, "Where are you the 
readers? I don't know most of you, so I have to guess where 
you might be. I guess by attempting to analogize on the basis 
of my own experience plus my guesses as to who might be read- 
ing this. To some extent, since my experience has been quite 
similar to that of many of you, I will be able to guess where you 
are fairly accurately. At many points, however, I will probably 
misunderstand or misestimate where you are and, therefore, fail 
in one way or another to communicate what you need in a way 
that will enable you to make good use of it. There is however, 
great risk involved here — risk that I may either flee from by 
refusing to even attempt to communicate, or that I may take 
even though I know that I will be misunderstood. It is obvious 
which course I have chosen. 

The point is that once we know enough to be receptor 
oriented, we must face certain important questions. We must 
ask, for example, where are the receptors? What are they 
interested in? What is it going to take to reach them? Then we 
need to ask ourselves questions concerning the risk factor. 
Should we deal with this topic? Are these receptors prepared 
to understand and make use of the material we present ? Is their 
attitude towards us as a communicator such that they will 
accept messages from us on this topic. Then we must ask 
ourselves questions concerning the way in which we present the 
message. It is not enough that we as communicators speak 
truth. We must, therefore, pay careful attention to the way we 
present our messages, lest the way we make our presentations, 


the language we employ, the attitudes we project, deter our 
hearers from understanding what we intend that they under- 
stand. Our concern for the importance of the message commited 
to us, therefore, requires that we, like God, be receptor oriented. 

2. A Second point at which, I believe, we should be more 
careful to imitate God is at the point of taking the initiative. 
Just as God did not stand and wait for others to seek him out, 
neither should we stand and wait. We have to go figuratively 
as well as actually where people are. We often establish our 
churches and other Christian organizations in such a way that 
the only way people will know we exist is by coming to where 
we are. I might refer to this as a "yellow pages" approach to 
evangelization. It is easy to assume that people know we exist 
and that they are convinced of our relevance. 

Now, I am not simply speaking of the way we place our 
church buildings. We cannot, of course, be proud of the "waiting 
game" that characterizes many of our churches. They seem to 
say, "The people know we are here, if they want us they will seek 
us out." My primary focus is, however, on something more 
subtle than the placement of church buildings. That is the fact 
that a person sitting right next to us in the same room may be 
psychologically even more distant from us than many people on 
the other side of the world from us. And if we are to imitate 
God, we need to take the initiative to reach out to that person 
also. Or, if you are a pastor, there may be a great psychological 
difference between you and many of the members of the 
congregation. You cannot simply assume that if they attend 
regularly, they are getting the messages that you think they 
are getting . You may not be getting close enough to them 
psychologically and communicationally for them to really benefit 
from what you are saying. They, on the other hand, may simply 
be attending church out of habit or because they feel that God 
will bless them more if they spend this time with his people. To 
reach them, you may have to take the initiative. 

One aspect of taking the initiative is to not assume too much 
with regard to the credibility, the trust and confidence, that 
people have in us. If you are not well known to the people you 
seek to communicate to, of course, you must establish your 
credibility with them in order to be listened to at all. We often, 
however, ignore the sense in which, even when people know us 
well, we need to reestablish our credibility in each new commun- 
icational situation. Whatever the situation demands, then, with 
respect to developing a trust relationship between ourselves and 


our receptors, we need to take the initiative to establish our 
credibility. Another way of saying this is to suggest that we need 
to win the right to be heard in every communicational situation. 

3. The initiative that we take, then, is to move toward the 
receptor, into his frame of reference. Just as God does, we need 
to employ the receptor's language, including his slang or jargon, 
key our message into his world of experience and interest, and 
over all refuse to give in to the temptation to force him into 
linguistic and conceptual territory that is familiar to us but not 
to him. The temptation to extract people from where they are 
into where we are in order that we may feel more comfortable 
in dealing with them is a strong temptation indeed. We found it 
at work on the mission field where people were encouraged to 
learn our language and our culture in order to adequately under- 
stand the message that we sought to communicate to them. As 
mentioned in Chapter 1, those who have been taught to under- 
stand and speak about God in theological terminology are very 
often tempted to require that their hearers learn to understand 
their language and thought patterns before they can properly 
understand the message of God. 

Yet we often do not really know where our receptors are. 
One of the dangerous things that often happens to a person 
when he takes a pastorate or other Christian service position, 
is that he assumes that he knows where his people are. Preacher 
after preacher has had to find another pastorate, or even another 
occupation because that assumption turned out to be wrong. 
One problem is, of course, that we are trained in classrooms for 
occupations that are usually quite unlike anything that goes on 
in our classrooms. Some of our problems would be solved if we 
were trained to do things by doing those things rather than by 
simply thinking about doing those things. When we spend our 
time thinking about things we learn to think about things. When 
we do things we learn how to do things. 

One pastor that I know did what I think is exactly the right 
thing. He took a pastorate in a small industrial town in New 
England soon after he graduated from college. He had, however, 
barely settled into that pastorate when he took a job in a factory. 
When the church leaders found out about this, they called him 
on the carpet. They knew they were not paying him the highest 
salary in the world, but they did expect him to be full time. His 
reply was something as follows "I am full time. All of the money 
I'm making in the factory is going right into the church. My 
problem is that I have spent all of my life to date in school. I 


just don't know where you people are. You are spending from 
9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day in the factory and until I have 
spent 9:00 to 5:00 day after day in the factory I'm not going to 
be able to speak effectively to you." This is the kind of identifi- 
cational approach that I am recommending. His sermons from 
that time on were right where the people were. He was constantly 
talking about his interaction with the people on either side of 
him where he was working in the factory. He refused to assume 
that he knew where his hearers were simply because he'd been 
in school and studied a bit about them. He got out there and 
learned about his people by doing the things that they did in the 
kinds of contexts in which they spent their lives. He didn't work 
very long in the factory, he didn't have to. He only had to work 
long enough to get a feel for where his congregation was so that 
he could use this understanding to get into their frame of 

Anything not in the receptors' frame of reference is virtually 
unintelligible to him. We can bring in new information from 
outside into the frame of reference of the receptors, but every- 
thing depends on how we bring it in. People learn, apparently, 
by analogies. But these analogies must be familiar enough to 
them from within their experience to make the point that the 
communicator is trying to make. When the point is made, then, 
the receptors recombine the material that is already in their 
heads with the new material to arrive at new understandings. 
It is the job of the communicator to so present his new material 
within the receptor's frame of reference that the receptor can 
interact with it thoroughly enough to produce constructive new 
understandings within his head. I am not suggesting that we 
cannot present new material to our receptors. On the contrary, 
if we look at Jesus' example, we find that he frequently presented 
new material to his hearers. But he used familiar forms such as 
parables and analogies from the life experience of his receptors 
in order to maximize their ability to integrate the new informa- 
tion into their frame of reference. 

4. But even though we may have effectively entered the 
receptor's frame of reference, there is still no assurance that we 
will communicate effectively unless we have gained the receptors' 
respect. As I have suggested in Chapter 1, there is a distancing 
that takes place when one allows himself to be called by a title. 
Titles designate stereotypes, assigned positions that people have 
in relationship to other people. But when you assign someone 
a position in some category other than your own category, you 


isolate him from yourself. The title, the stereotype, enables you 
to predict not only the position of that person in relationship 
to yourself, but the behavior of that person. And if he conforms 
to that stereotype in his interaction with you, you say to 
yourself, "What should I expect?" 

One very interesting indication of the kind of stereotype 
that preachers have in the minds of lay people is the way that 
the preacher in the Pogo comic strip is presented. All of the other 
characters in that comic strip are represented as speaking in 
ordinary type. But the preacher is presented as speaking in Old 
English type! This, I believe, is intended to show the kind of 
stereotype that people have of preachers. It is also a very clever 
way to represent in print the distance that is ordinarily under- 
stood to exist between preachers and common people. 

What, then, is the answer to this problem? It is, I believe, 
to escape from the stereotype by refusing to be predictable in 
terms of that stereotype. Now, there are ways of not conforming 
to a stereotype that will ultimately hinder the communication. 
I am not suggesting that we employ means that would be incon- 
sistent with the message that we seek to communicate. Nor am 
I suggesting that anything unpredictable that we might do will 
help the communication. I could, for example, use language in 
this presentation that would be both unpredictable and 
detrimental to the communication. There is, however, a kind of 
unpredictability that I would like to recommend that is both 
consistent with what Jesus did and a distinct asset to commun- 
ication whenever we find ourselves boxed in by a stereotype. 

5. What I would like to suggest is that we attempt to 
overcome the distancing created by a stereotype by becoming a 
genuine human being to our receptors. Think, for example, of 
certain stereotypes and then ask yourself the question what is 
the opposite of each of those stereotypes? You will discover, I 
think, that you, along with most other receptors, will tend to 
think of people as either preachers or human beings, either 
teachers or human beings, either young people or human beings, 
etc. This may be slightly overstated but only slightly if at all. 
I think there is an important truth in the observation that we 
tend to define people who are like us as human beings, while 
we define those on the other side of a stereotype boundary from 
us in terms of whatever the generalized characteristics of that 
stereotype seem to be in our minds. 

I came across this fact in a dramatic way one time in 
Nigeria. I was discussing with one of my friends there some 


aspect of Euro-American culture when he remarked to me, 
"Fear God, fear the white man." This statement turned out to 
be one of their proverbs. And as I began to probe the meaning 
of the proverb, I became aware of the fact that we whites were 
not only distanced from them by their stereotype of us, but we 
were linked with God rather than with human beings in their 
minds. As I pondered this, it was not difficult for me to 
understand their point of view. From their point of view, only 
God and whites had the power to produce automobiles, bicycles, 
grain grinding machines, radios, airplanes, and the like. Further- 
more, only God and whites could be so confident, self assured, 
free from fear and unpredictable. Human beings (that is, people 
like themselves) are not powerful, not wealthy, fairly predictable, 
not self assured, fearful, etc. So everything seemed to indicate 
that we fit into the God category rather than into the human 
being category. What I began to ask myself, then, was how am 
I going to become a human being to them in order that I might 
communicate to them on a person to person level? 

What is the difference in your relationship with people 
between those who first get to know you as a human being and 
only later discover that you have earned a title, and those who 
first get to know you in terms of your title? Sometimes, if they 
first get to know you in terms of your title, you will then say 
and do things that cause them to remark, "Gee, you sure don't 

act like a , " If you are a teacher, they may say, "You 

don't act like a teacher, you act like a human being." Of course, 
they usually do not articulate the last part of the sentence. They 
usually simply say: "You don't act like a teacher," or "You 
don't act like a preacher," or "you don't act like a Christian." 
But what they mean is that somehow you have broken out of 
the stereotype in terms of which they had been thinking of you 
and have become for them a human being. And actually, if 
becoming a human being to them is done in a proper way, it will 
enhance your ability to communicate to them. 

I would like to suggest a five step process for escaping from 
a stereotype into the human being category of our receptors. 
The first step is to try to understand them. This is not always 
easy and it is not always enjoyable. Oftentimes we are called 
upon to attempt to communicate to people of whom we really 
don't approve. We may not even like them or approve of their 
lifestyles. But we must attempt to understand them in terms of 
their own frame of reference if we are to have any chance of 
becoming credible to them. 


Then we must go beyond simply understanding them to 
empathizing with them. Empathy is the attempt to put ourselves 
in the place of those to whom we are trying to relate. It involves 
us in attempting to look at the world in the way that our 
receptors are looking at it. We may have to say to ourselves, 
"If I assumed the world to be what they assume it to be, how 
would I think and act?" If we properly understand and empa- 
thize, then, we should come to a fairly good understanding of 
what their definition of human beingness is. For it may be quite 
different from our definition. 

And this puts us in a good position to take the third step, 
which is to identify with our receptors. Now, identification is a 
difficult concept. And many people have the wrong impression 
of it. They think identifying with others is becoming fake. And 
sometimes it can be. Many think of older people trying to speak 
young people's language, dress like young people and grow 
beards. But true identification is not being fake. It is not trying 
to become someone else. It is, rather, taking the trouble to 
become more than what one ever was before by genuinely 
entering into the life of other people. There are dimensions to 
most of us that we have never really probed. And identifying 
with another person or group, genuinely entering into his frame 
of reference, challenges us to probe another of these unprobed 
areas. One of the amazing things about human beings is that 
we can become bi-cultural. We can, by entering into the lives of 
other people, become just as real in that context as we are in 
our normal context. It takes more work, it takes a lot of learn- 
ing, a lot of modifying. However, when we find our efforts paying 
off to the extent that people remark, "you are just like one of 
us," we begin to realize that it is very much worth it. 

But in order to do this, we need to take the fourth step and 
to participate in the lives of the people we are trying to reach. 
Beyond simply identifying with them and their life is partici- 
pating in it with them. This, of course, needs to be done with 
caution. But we see, I think, in Jesus' ministry a kind of fear- 
lessness concerning what people might say about him when he 
went to even disreputable places and associated with even 
disreputable people. He "lost his testimony" for the sake of the 
people that he sought to win by participating with them in their 

The fifth stage, then, in attempting to become a human 
being in order to reach human beings, is what has been termed 
"self exposure." One could go all the way to the participation 


stage in this process and never really let others know what one 
is like beneath his skin. It is, unfortunately, possible to identify 
and participate with people without really giving one's self to 
those people. Thus, it is necessary to go beyond participation 
to self exposure. This is the practice of sharing one's inner most 
feelings with those with whom one participates. It is not the 
kind of questionable practice that some indulge in when they 
share intimate details of their inner life in their public presen- 
tations. It is, rather, the sharing of one's innermost feelings 
with those within the receptor group with whom one has earned 
intimacy. At this level, the confession of faults, doubts, and 
insecurities becomes a valid part of one's testimony rather than 
a disqualification of one's right to speak convincingly. I believe 
Jesus related to at least some (perhaps not all) of his disciples 
at this intimate level. Even our records show him at the self- 
exposure level when he cries over Jerusalem, when he casts out 
the money changers, and when in Gethsemane he begs God to 
accomplish his purposes in some other way than via death. 
Becoming a genuine, credible human being to our receptors takes 
us beyond understanding, empathy, identification and participa- 
tion to this kind of self exposure. 

One final word would seem to be in order before I turn to 
my next point. That is to point out that in order to reach people 
in a frame of reference other than our own in the way that I am 
recommending, we do not have to either convert to that frame 
of reference as our preferred way of life in the sense that we 
adopt our receptors' lifestyle, nor do we have to uncritically 
endorse that way of life. Certainly Jesus, by becoming a common 
person in first century Palestine, did not endorse every aspect 
of the lives of those with whom he participated. When, however, 
he spoke critically of their lives, he spoke as one who was 
committed to them as a participant in their lives rather than 
as an outsider who simply threw stones at them. 

Perhaps this is why he got so upset with the Pharisee who, 
in the story recorded in John 8, sought to stone the woman 
taken in adultery. I believe part of what he was saying to them 
was that, unless they participated in real life the way she was 
forced to participate in it, and understood life from her perspec- 
tive, and still could maintain their righteousness, they had no 
right to condemn her. I don't believe that Jesus condoned her 
activity, but neither did he condone the right of outsiders to 
condemn her according to laws that they, within their own 
context, were unable to obey. 


When one lives in two worlds, all that is required is the 
acceptance of the validity of each way of life. We do not even 
condone much of what goes on within our own world, much less 
that that goes on within someone else's world. We must under- 
stand that their world, though it may differ considerably from 
ours, is no less valid as a way of life than is ours. And yet, we 
may still prefer our original frame of reference to that of those 
whom we seek to reach. There is nothing wrong with this. For 
there is no necessity for a bi-cultural person — one who has 
become more than what he was when he was simply monocul- 
tural — to convert to the second culture or sub-culture. He can, 
like Paul be a Jew with Jews and a Greek with Greeks (I Cor. 
9:20) without losing his authenticity. 

6. Now, as our sixth major point we turn to the credibility 
of the message that the communicator presents. Not only must 
the communicator himself/herself be perceived by the receptors 
as authentic and credible. His/her message must have the same 
kind of ring to it. And to do so the message must speak to the 
felt (or perceived) needs of those who hear it. 

The whole matter of perception by the receptors is at this 
point (as at all other points) crucial. I once heard a theologian 
say, "There is nothing more relevant than the Christian 
message". He said this as if relevance is something that is 
attached to a given subject matter for ever and ever. Yet we 
have to ask the question: "If the Christian message is inherently 
relevant, why are so many people perceiving it to be irrelevant?" 
I believe the reason lies in the fact that relevance is constructed 
by the receptors in communicational situations. Relevance is as 
relevance is perceived. Again, as in all areas of communication, 
the final verdict is up to the receptor. If you take what I'm 
saying to be relevant it is because you have constructed it that 
way in this situation. You have received it as relevant. You have 
been able to connect it with something in your own experience, 
some need that you have come to feel. If you perceive what I'm 
saying to be irrelevant, then I've probably not been successful 
in trying to relate it to your felt needs. Perhaps I had assumed 
that you had needs in areas where you don't have needs. So you 
have been unable to construct this message as relevant to your 
particular situation. 

The Gospel is like that too. It is not perceived as relevant 
by everyone, unfortunately. It would be very nice if it were. It 
would be very nice if we could just stand up here and do what 
some people recommend — simply present the Gospel as best we 


can and leave the rest to God. In some sense, of course, we have 
to do that, for we are dependent on the Holy Spirit to bring 
people to respond to God. But there are disturbing instances 
where we think the Holy Spirit ought to make it relevant to 
people and and he doesn't seem to. Yet it seems that when I do 
my job better, the Holy Spirit usually does his job better. The 
variable in this whole situation, though, is not the Holy Spirit 
but me. So I need to do my best to present that message that 
has transformed my life in such a way that it is perceived as 
relevant to the people to whom I speak and before whom I live. 
And that means relating it to their felt needs. 

Relevance and felt needs, though, are matters of the here 
and now. We are living now and so are our hearers. Yet 
the documents we work with (the Bible) are relating God's 
messages to other people in other times and places. And because 
of that fact it is easy to fall into the mistake of dealing with 
the Scriptures as if God's main intent were merely to provide 
interesting (or sometimes dull) history lessons or linguistic 
expositions. We who have trained for Christian ministry often 
have our minds so full of such a variety of interesting and helpful 
classroom-type details concerning the Scriptures that we insist 
on regularly transporting our hearers back into Biblical times 
and places rather than on understanding and interpreting 
Scriptural messages in relation to their felt needs. 

I was taught in seminary that exegetical and expository 
preaching are better than topical preaching. The validity of this 
point lies in the fact that unless pulpit attention to current topics 
is solidly grounded in the Scriptures, it is unworthy of the 
Christian communicator. I think, however, that we need to add 
two important qualifications to any recommendation of 
exegetical or expository preaching: 1) if it is to be true to the 
relevance criterion here recommended (and, I believe, exhibited 
in Scripture) , preaching must be topical enough to relate to the 
felt needs of these people at this time and in this place; 
and 2) that Jesus was always topical. To be Scriptural is, I 
believe, to deal Scripturally with topics perceived by our hearers 
to be relevant to their felt needs. 

The concept of felt need must not, however, be understood 
as merely a superficial kind of thing. People do, of course, have 
needs of which they are aware. These are usually articulated in 
questions they ask at the surface level. And attention to these 
is often the only "gateway" by means of which a communicator 
will be allowed to get through to his receptors. Once he has made 


use of such a gateway, however, he finds increasingly deeper 
levels of need only some of which the receptors could have 
articulated early in the relationship. Some of these needs may 
have been there at the start but felt only at a subconscious level 
if at all. Some may have been developed during the process of 
the interaction. One thing that often happens in effective 
Christian communication is that trust and credibility of 
messenger and message is established at a fairly superficial 
(perhaps even trivial) level. Through interaction between the 
receptor, on the one hand, and Christians and the Scriptures, on 
the other, then, the receptor enters a process by means of which 
he discovers other needs that propel him to seek answers from 
Christian friends and the Scriptures. As he receives answers 
from these sources, however, he uncovers still other needs that 
need to be dealt with in the same way. And so on. 

7. In keeping with our focus on relevance to felt needs, and 
in imitation of Jesus' model, we suggest next that the message 
needs to be specific to the real life of the receptors. As I have 
noted in chapter 1, this is one of the great things about 
the Scriptures. They present and deal with real life things. They 
consist largely of case studies of real people in real life situations. 
And even when Jesus taught via parables, these were true- to- 
life stories, many of which are so characteristic of real life that 
it is hard to believe that they didn't actually happen. 

In Jesus' name, though, we often deal with our subject 
matter at such a general level that there is little or no perception 
of relevance on the part of our hearers. If we use good illustra- 
tions and/or get personal we are more effective because we have 
gotten specific. It is via the specificity of the illustration or the 
personal account, then, that whatever is communicated gets 
across, not via the general points in our outlines. And many an 
unaware preacher has effectively communicated something 
quite different via his illustrations that what he intended to get 

I was at a large meeting of young people one time when I 
decided to test the degree to which the young people were paying 
attention to the speaker. So I worked out on a piece of paper 
what might be referred to as a makeshift "cough meter." There 
were nine thousand young people at that meeting and the 
weather was very cold, so nearly everyone was coughing. What 
I did, therefore, was to try to draw a line on my paper that indi- 
cated the level of the coughing. This line went up and down as 
the coughing level went up and down. What I observed was that 


while the speaker was dealing with the main points in his outline, 
the level of coughing was relatively high. When, however, he 
got specific, either in terms of an illustration or by describing 
his own personal experience, nine thousand young people stopped 
coughing ! I remember clearly from that experience how attentive 
the young people became each time the speakers became 
personal. They seemed to be unconsciously evaluating the 
generalized presentation as something that could be ignored or, 
at least, as something to which they did not have to devote their 
whole attention. The specific illustrations and personal experi- 
ences, on the other hand, seemed to be evaluated as so important 
that they should devote their full attention to them. It might be 
useful to make this kind of observation in church as well. 
Observations of the level of coughing, fidgiting, clock watching 
and the like will probably lead you to the same conclusion that I 
have come to — that specific messages receive greater attention 
than general messages do. 

8. As point number eight, then, I want to emphasize that, 
as with Jesus, the effective Christian communicator needs to 
lead the receptor to discovery. As I have mentioned, discovery 
learning is minimized by many of our American educational and 
church procedures. When, however, the communicator becomes 
a real human being, presenting his message in close specific 
relation to the receptors' felt needs, discovery is enhanced 
enormously. Case studies, illustrations, specific application to 
the real life of the hearers, raising questions for which the 
receptor must struggle for answers, and the like, are all helpful 
techniques for leading people to discovery. 

The matter of the ease with which the receptors can move 
from material presented to application in their own life is again 
relevant here. We have been carefully taught that if we can 
present general principles, our hearers can easily make the 
applications. I don't blieve that is as true as we tend to assume. 
I think more often we find that communication is most effective 
when the communicator has presented something rather specific 
that we find we can relate to, because we discover that the 
specifics of what he is presenting and the specifics of our own 
experience are rather close to each other. I think, as I have said 
before, that it is easier to go from specific to specific than from 
general to specific. But even if the communication is from 
general principle to specific application, is much more impactful 
if the receptor discovers how the principle applies to his life than 
if the communicator points it out to him. 


9. Much of what I have been saying here can be 
summarized in the principle, the messenger himself/herself is 
the major component of the total message. As much as we might 
like to avoid this kind of responsibility, as much as it frightens 
us to recognize the responsibility involved here, I believe we 
must accept this fact. For, as McLuhan has pointed out, the 
medium that transmits the message conveys a message of its 
own. Some people try to avoid their responsibility in this regard 
by attempting to separate widely between the message and their 
own behavior. The professor mentioned above who said, ''Don't 
do what I do, do what I say" is a case in point. His approach 
was unrealistic at best, irresponsible at worst, though it must 
be said that a professor who only spends a few hours a week 
with his students might be better able to pull off such a philoso- 
phy than someone who has greater and more total involvement 
with those to whom he communicates. The major thing a 
professor (or a preacher) communicates is, however, what he 
does, not what he says. Indeed, the main thing we learn from 
professors and preachers is how to be professors and preachers, 
not as we think, the messages that they articulate verbally! For 
this reason I recommend in chapter four below what I believe 
to be a better total model for the kind of communication that 
we seek to get across as Christians. 

We are a major part of the message that we seek to 
communicate. This is why it is so important if we are in a 
pastoral situation to spend as much time as possible with the 
people in our congregation. It is in visitation, rather than in 
preaching, that the majority of important communication goes 
on. Sermonizing is more like the display in a store window than 
like the merchandise on the counters. Store managers know that 
it is very important to have good display in the windows. But 
they also know that their business will not be successful if they 
spend all their time decorating the windows and none of their 
time making sure that they have good merchandise inside the 
store. A pastor, therefore, who spends most of his time prepar- 
ing his window display (his sermons) and little of his time deal- 
ing with his people and the merchandise that he has to present 
to them on an individual level, will not be very effective in the 
Lord's business. Likewise a pastor who keeps a great distance 
between himself and his people. He may be able to perform well 
in front of his people but that performance becomes a part of 
his message. And people learn all kinds of strange things con- 
cerning God by observing such performances. The fact that God 
became a human being to reach human beings is not only 


relevant as a technique for putting his messages across, it is an 
essential characteristic of the message itself. It is, furthermore, 
something that we must imitate if we are to accurately commun- 
icate God's message. Christianity is someone to follow, not simply 
information to assimilate. Our lives must, therefore, line up in 
support of both the person and the personalness of the Christ 
message. If our lives contradict that message, the information 
we seek to get across is worthless. 

10. The tenth point, then, is that the communicator should 
aim to bring the receptors to identify with him and to commit 
themselves to his cause. As we have seen, this is the ultimate 
impact of effective communication. Jesus did this and we follow 
him because of it. Now we are to do it and to bring others to 
follow us as we follow Christ (I Corinthians 11:1). Jesus was 
God's incarnation for his day. Now, in a very real sense we stand 
in his shoes as God's message incarnated for this day. If we 
present our message in the way that I have been recommending, 
our receptors will see both us and our message as vitally related 
to themselves and their needs. Some of them, then, will choose 
to identify with us, not only as human beings but as commun- 
icators of the message that they find transforming their lives. 
They respond with receptor identification and commitment to 
our cause. This is an indication that the Holy Spirit has been 
doing his work, but it is also an indication that we have 
communicated effectively. And this is our ultimate aim in 
imitation of Christ to whom we have responded in identification 
and commitment to his cause. 



What is the Receptor Up To? 

We have focused in chapters one and two on God's model 
and the application of that model on the part of the communi- 
cator. Now we turn to a focus on the receptors. We may take as 
the text Romans 10:14-17 the intent of which can, I believe, be 
adequately summarized as "faith results from understanding 
and responding to the message effectively communicated." We 
have suggested that a communicator needs to be receptor 
oriented. We have also indicated that receptors construct the 
meanings that result from communicational situations and then 
respond to those meanings that they construct. 

1. My first point in this regard is that the receptors are 
not passive. One mistake that older theorists of communication 
made was that receptors are rather like sponges, simply soaking 
up the messages that are sent their way. If, however, we try to 
analyze our own activity as we converse with someone or sit in 
the audience listening to a lecture or sermon, we begin to realize 
that we are anything but passive. Indeed, as we interact with 
someone in conversation, we may find that often we are not 
listening as we should to what the other person is saying. We 
are too busy constructing what we are going to say in response. 
Or as we sit listening to a lecture we may find that our thoughts 
are miles away or that we are in our head arguing with the 
speaker rather than simply listening to him. 

The fact seems to be that in any communicational situation 
there are many things going on at the same time. At any given 
time when we are listening to a speaker, we may be more con- 
cerned with how he is saying something than with what he is 
saying. Or we may be more focused in on the way he looks than 
we are on what he is saying. Or we may be more concerned with 
the person next to us or with someone else in the audience than 
we are either with the message or the messenger. Those of us 
who have listened to countless sermons and lectures may, in 
fact, have gotten into the habit of picking the message apart 
he speaks. I have spent my time in any number of sermons and 
lectures doing just that. In fact, there is probably not a sermon 
or a lecture that I cannot find something wrong with, especially 
if I don't want to be listening to it in the first place. 


Or, we may be listening intently to the communication and 
interacting positively with everything that is said. But even then, 
we are anything but passive. We are actively interacting with 
the communication, whether we are accepting it, rejecting it, or 
avoiding it. 

2. My second point is that one of the most important 
kinds of activity that receptors engage in is the activity of 
constructing the meanings that result from the communicational 
interaction. Older theories of communication saw communicators 
simply putting together and passing along words and phrases 
that contain their meanings. The receptor might or might not 
understand what is being said, because he might or might not 
understand the meanings of the words and phrases employed. 
But, according to these older theories, all the receptor needs to 
do to arrive at the intended meanings is to find out the proper 
meanings of the words and phrases. For, these theories contend, 
the meanings lie in the message itself. 

Recent communication theory, however, has abandoned that 
rather mechanical view of communication in favor of a more 
personalistic view. Contemporary understandings contend that 
a major difference between messages and meanings lies in the 
fact that messages can be transmitted in linguistic form while 
meanings exist only in the hearts and minds of people. Contem- 
porary communiologists see communicators with meanings in 
their minds that they would like to transmit to receptors. 
Communicators take these meanings and formulate them, usually 
in linguistic form, into messages which they then transmit to 
receptors. Receptors then, listen to the messages and construct 
within their minds sets of meanings that may or may not 
correspond with the meanings intended by the communicator. 

Meanings, therefore, do not pass from me to you, only 
messages. The meanings exist only within me or within you. I 
have certain meanings in my mind that I would like to get across. 
I try to formulate these in terms of messages, whether verbal, 
written or in some other form. In the case of this transaction 
I am formulating my meanings via writing. You, then, read my 
messages and construct within your mind the meaning that you 
consider to be appropriate to the messages that I am sending. If 
you are positively disposed toward me and my messages, it is 
likely that you will construct meanings that are at least favor- 
able toward what I am trying to say. You might still misunder- 
stand what I am saying, but you are likely to give me the benefit 
of the doubt. If, on the other hand, you are negative toward me 
and/or my messages, you are likely to attach unfavorable 


meanings to the messages that I send whether or not you 
understand them. The messages, then, serve as stimulators 
rather than as containers. Receptors, in response to the stimulus 
of messages construct meanings that may or may not correspond 
to what the communicator intended. 

The significance of this particular insight is extremely 
important to all of us who seek to communicate effectively. It 
means that if I am going to get across to you I am automatically 
accountable both for the way I construct the message and for 
the impact of that construction upon you. This means that I am 
accountable to understand as much as I possibly can concerning 
how you are likely to receive my messages. And this relates 
strongly to your previous experience with messages of this kind. 
If I know you, I am able to predict with a fair degree of 
accuracy how you will respond. If, however, I do not know you, 
my ability to predict your response may be severely hampered. 
Suppose, for example, I speak or write like someone with whom 
you have had a bad experience. The meanings that you construct 
from my messages are going to be affected by that fact. And 
the ultimate verdict concerning what results from the commun- 
icational situation will be affected by circumstances largely 
beyond my control. 

I can present you with information in the best way I know 
how. But if I don't really know you, the way I present that infor- 
mation can be based only on my best guess as to where 
you might be and how this type of presentation might affect 
you. I will try to use words, phrases, and the like that you will 
both understand and toward which you will be positively disposed 
in order that you will give my messages at least the benefit of 
the doubt. But I may not guess right. Or, I might naively employ 
terminology that I happen to like that raises red flags in your 

Suppose, for example, I like the word "liberal." Suppose 
the word has for me a positive connotation and I start talking 
about the glories of being a liberal. I suspect that the audience 
to which I am now writing would be strongly inclined to be 
negative both toward me and toward my message if I tried to 
use that word in a positive sense. If, on the other hand, I 
identify myself as a "conservative," particularly with regard to 
theological issues, my guess is that the audience to which I am 
writing would take a positive attitude toward me and my 
message. In either case, the communication that I seek to get 
across is affected to a greater extent by the meanings that you 
the audience attach to the words and phrases that I employ than 


it is by the meanings that I attach to those symbols. And if I 
don't realize what is going on,it would be very easy for me to 
stimulate in your minds meanings that are quite distant from 
the meanings that I intend. 

The importance of this particular fact in communicational 
situations was once driven home to me in a way that I cannot 
forget. I was asked by a very conservative church to give a series 
of Wednesday evening lectures on the subject of Bible Trans- 
lation. As near as I could tell the first lecture was received quite 
well. But when I appeared the next week for the second lecture, 
I was informed by the leader of the group that some of the people 
were complaining about me because I did not use the phrase "the 
blood of Christ" in my lecture the previous week. I suggested 
to the leader that the omission of that phrase had more to do 
with the subject matter about which I was talking than with 
any position that I might have against the sacrificial work of 
Christ. His reply was that he well understood my point of view 
but that if I could insert that phrase somewhere in my discussion 
this week, it would help considerably in the communicational 
situation. Now, what was going on here was the fact that those 
who were listening to my message were not sure whether they 
should construct meanings that they considered orthodox or 
meanings that they considered liberal from my message. They 
did not know me and were not sure about my credibility. So I 
decided to take their request seriously and provided them with 
a fairly detailed testimony concerning to my Christian experi- 
ence. After that they all relaxed and we had a good series of 
interactions. They were looking for something that would stim- 
ulate meanings of trust in their minds. Their message to me, 
then, was couched in the words "blood of Christ." I guessed 
correctly what they really meant by this symbol and provided 
them with a personal testimony — an alternate symbol that 
enabled them to attach the meaning "orthodoxy" to my 
messages. And we had a good relationship after that. 

The point is that one of the important activities of recep- 
tors is the constructing of the meanings that they attach to the 
messages to which they are exposed. These meanings are 
consructed by attaching particular meanings — both denotative 
and connotative — to the symbols via which the message is 
presented. Those symbols, the words, phrases, sentences, etc., 
in which the messages are couched, are not, therefore, like box 
cars that carry the same meaning wherever they go. They are 
more like darts, thrown to prick people at certain points in order 
to stimulate in them certain kinds of responses. 


People communicating in the same language do, of course, 
attach largely similar meanings to the same words, phrases, etc. 
This is because as parts of a single linguistic community, they 
have all been taught to attach similar meanings to the same 
symbols. But even within the same community there is a greater 
or lesser range of variation in the meanings that various mem- 
bers of the community attach to the words they use. There is 
very seldom, if ever, a complete correspondence between the 
meanings in the head of the communicator and the meanings in 
the heads of the receptors. The approximations may, however, 
be fairly close and the communication quite adequate, in spite 
of the lack of a total correspondence between the communicator's 
meanings and the receptors' meanings. In any event, it is crucial 
for the communicator to recognize that the receptor is active 
in the process of meaning construction and to do everything he 
can do to assure that the receptors' activity in this respect will 
be closer to rather than farther from what he communicator 

3. Another activity that the receptor engages in constantly 
is that of evaluating the message. It is apparently a basic of our 
humanity that we not only participate in experiences but we 
evaluate them. In a communication experience then, we evaluate 
each compound of that experience, including the communicator 
(whether someone else or ourselves), the message, and the 
receptors. If we are the receptors in a given situation, we con- 
stantly evaluate the message in relation to ourselves, including 
our past experiences, our present experiences and whatever we 
are projecting for ourselves in the future. 

One aspect of our evaluation relates to the total situation. 
We evaluate such aspects as place, time, other persons involved, 
manner of dress of the participants, the temperature, the 
arrangement of persons, furniture and other accoutrements, and 
all other features of the communicational situation. From this 
evaluation we construct an overall impression of the situation. 
This overall impression then, has much to do with how we 
interpret what goes on in that situation. You know how differ- 
ently you react in a given situation if you evaluate it positively 
from the way you might act in a similar situation that you 
evaluate negatively or neutrally. You are also aware of the fact 
that in some situations your impression is strongly positive or 
strongly negative, while in other situations your impression is 
only mildly positive or mildly negative. The point is that we 
evaluate all situations in which we participate and that this is 
one primary form of activity in which we engage as receptors. 


In addition to evaluating the total situation, however, we 
constantly evaluate each part of the situation. Indeed we may 
find ourselves positively disposed to a total situation but 
negatively disposed towards certain of the people in that 
situation, certain of the messages communicated in that situa- 
tion, or even our own participation in the situation. In any 
event, receptors certainly are not passive in communicational 
situations — they are constantly evaluating them. 

4. Another kind of activity in which receptors are engaged 
is the matter of selectivity. Receptors are selective with respect 
to at least four areas. The first of these is with respect to what 
kinds of things one will be exposed to. Those of you who are 
reading this have chosen to be exposed to it. There are probably 
many others who glanced at this material and decided not to 
expose themselves to it. In our everyday lives we are constantly 
selecting those things that we want to be exposed to and those 
things that we do not want to be exposed to. There are, of course, 
many reasons why we choose to expose ourselves to certain 
things but not to others. Not infrequently the choice to expose 
ourselves to some things relates more to our desire to please 
someone else than it does to our interest in that to which we 
expose ourselves. But whatever the reason the fact is that 
receptors are active with respect to choosing what they will 
expose themselves to communicationally. 

Not infrequently, though, we find ourselves in a position 
where we are exposed to communications that we would rather 
not be exposed too. Sometimes our spouses, or children or friends 
drag us to some communicational event against our wills. Or, we 
may have to attend something because it is required by our job, 
our role, or some social involvement in which we find ourselves. 
At times like these we have another kind of activity that we can 
employ as receptors. That is selectivity of attention. We may 
not be able to avoid being exposed to given messages, but we 
may find it possible to only pay attention to certain parts of 
those messages. We may sort of blip in and blip out while the 
communication is taken place. Or we may allow ourselves to get 
easily distracted by something else that is going on. Either way, 
we pay attention only to certain aspects of the communication. 
Sometimes we are so inattentive that we mentally go off into a 
distant land or even fall asleep. At such times selective attention 
comes quite close to selective exposure. 

A third area in which receptors exercise selectivity is in the 
area of perception. It is not always possible to avoid exposure 
or even to avoid paying some attention to the message. But we 


tend to perceive messages in such a way that they confirm 
already held positions, whether or not the communicator intend- 
ed them that way. This is usually done unconsciously and relates 
to our overall evaluation of the situation and the various 
components of it. One person with a given attitude toward a 
communicational situation may perceive and even distort the 
message in one way while another person in the same situation 
but with a different evaluation of it will perceive or distort the 
message in quite another direction. Whether or not we under- 
stand the message also plays an important part. The perception 
that we take away from a communicational situation may be 
distorted as much by partial understanding or even misunder- 
standing as it is by our evaluation or because of our understand- 
ing, we are consciously or unconsciously selective in our percep- 
tion of the messages that we hear. 

Our intention when we go into a communicational situation 
likewise has much to do with what we perceive from that 
situation. If for example, we go into a situation seeking comfort 
or distraction or entertainment, we are likely to come away from 
that situation having gotten what we came for but missing 
whatever else the communicator might have intended. Or, if we 
go into a situation with high expectations concerning what we 
will obtain but find nothing to meet those expectations, we may 
well go away from that situation totally disappointed having 
perceived only in terms of the negating of our expectations while 
having missed many valuable things that we could have obtained 
had we been less selective in our perception. 

The fourth area in which receptors are selective is in the 
area of recall. On occasion, we may be exposed to a message, 
pay attention to it, and even perceive it correctly, but when we 
remember back to that occasion at a later date, we may choose 
to remember only a certain selection of the things that we 
actually heard. This choice is usually made in terms of those 
things that fit in most easily with the things that we already 
believed and felt. That is, if we have a positive attitude towards 
ours elf and the communicator said things that fit in with that 
positive attitude (no matter what else he said), we may well 
remember only those things. If, on the other hand, we have a 
negative attitude towards ourselves, and the communicator said 
things that fit in with that predisposition, it is likely that we 
will recall those things, even if the communicator said many 
things that were contrary to this predisposition. I will develop 
this point further in the next section. Suffice it to say that in 
at least these four ways receptors engage in the activity of selec- 
tion in communicational events. 


5. Receiving communication is a risky business. Receptors 
are, therefore, continually active in dealing with the risk. As 
we read this, or as we sit listening to a communicator speak, 
we may have little conscious awareness of the risk factor. And 
yet, whenever we expose ourselves to communication we are 
risking the possibility that we might have to change some aspect 
of our lives. We ordinarily seek at all costs to maintain our 
present equilibrium, to protect ourselves from assimilating 
anything that will upset our psychological balance. To do this 
we often build walls around ourselves in such a way that we can 
shed much of what we hear that would cause us to change our 
lifestyle. By means of the selectivity of which we have been 
talking, we refuse to take seriously much of what we hear. We 
refuse to process information, to be concerned about it, to see 
the implications of such information for our lives. Or, even if 
we do see the implications, we often refuse to work such insights 
into our lives. One thing we often do, of course, is to apply what 
we hear to someone else's life in order to avoid having to take 
it seriously ourselves. 

These strategies that we use are often referred to as 
"coping strategies." A coping strategy is a way of dealing with 
the threats that come to our equilibrium from such sources as 
ambiguity, unanswered questions, and incomplete assimilation 
of new information. In school, of course, we are bombarded with 
so much information that we learn well how to cope with infor- 
mation overload by shedding most of it. We may learn enough 
of it well enough to pass whatever examinations we have to 
face, but we develop the habit of refusing to process most of it. 
We also learn, however, to defend ourselves against much of 
the information that we do process. The so called "critical 
thinking," that we are taught to employ is often no more than 
defensive thinking, designed more to protoect us from consid- 
ering new ideas than to evaluate those ideas in terms of their 
potential value to us. We learn to say, "yes but . . . ," to nearly 
all new ideas in order to minimize the risk to our psychological 
equilibrium that a serious consideration of new ideas would 

Note what frequently happens in this regard when we listen 
to someone speak. If they are on the other side of an experience 
gap from us, we may protect ourselves from risk by saying to 
ourselves as they speak, "Yes, but he doesn't understand where 
I am." If the communicator has a status such as preacher, 
teacher, or someone else we regard as having "made it," we may 
say to ourselves, "Yes, but he doesn't have to face what I have 


to face." If the speaker seems to be dealing with a complex issue 
at a fairly superficial level, we may avoid the risk of taking him 
seriously by saying to ourselves, "Yes, but he has terribly over- 
simplified things." If the communicator increases the risk by 
keeping good eye contact with his receptors, the latter may use 
various strategies to keep from having to look the communi- 
cator in the eye. In these and similar ways, receptors are very 
active in attempting to reduce the risk involved in communica- 
tion situations. Even agreeing with people without seriously 
considering what they say may be a coping strategy engaged in 
by some to avoid or reduce the risk factor in communication. 

6. Another kind of activity that receptors are involved in 
is the production and transmission of what is called "feedback." 
As the communicator speaks, his receptors are active in sending 
messages back to him. These messages, or feedback, serve vari- 
ous purposes in the communicational interaction. Often the 
receptor wants to encourage the communicator. He may, there- 
fore, smile, nod, make some short comment or in some other 
way show his approval of what the communicator is saying. On 
the other hand, receptors often want to provide the communi- 
cator with negative feedback. In English speaking situations 
we often shake our heads, frown, or make short negative com- 
ments to provide negative feedback. Quite often the receptor 
produces and transmits feedback at a subconscious level. As 
receptors we may fidget, cough, show rapt attention, either seek 
or avoid eye contact, or in other ways quite unconsciously send 
feedback to communicators. Sometimes, indeed, as receptors we 
carry on a rather full internal conversation with the commun- 
icator of which he is rather completely unaware. Whatever of 
this surfaces in such a way that the communicator can read it 
becomes feedback. 

The constructing, sending and receiving of feedback in com- 
municational situations is a rather intricate business. Often 
receptors construct and send a good bit of feedback that is not 
picked up by the communicator. If, for example, the commun- 
icator has been brought up in such a way that he has not learned 
to read the particular feedback that the receptors construct and 
send, there can be a considerable amount of miscommunication. 
Often, in our society, fellows and girls are trained into quite 
different feedback systems. It is not uncommon for a girl to 
send large amounts of feedback that are never picked up by the 
fellows with whom she associates. Often such feedback is 
constructed in rather elaborate "hints" that are not responded 
to by fellows. Those who construct and send feedback, therefore, 


must also be receptor oriented, in the sense that they must be 
careful to send the kind of feedback that is intelligible to their 
receptors, if they are to be correctly understood. 

7. The final type of receptor activity with which I would 
like to deal is that of coming to a verdict concerning the 
communication. The receptor needs to do something about the 
communication. He has to decide whether to act on the commun- 
ication or to ignore it. If the communication simply involves 
information, as with a news broadcast, he needs to decide 
whether to try to remember it or to simply forget it. If the 
communicator is appealing for a change in his behavior, he needs 
to decide whether to respond positively, negatively or neutrally 
to that appeal. Whatever the decision the receptor comes to 
concerning the communication, some kind of a verdict, some 
kind of a judgment is involved. 

Suppose the verdict is to ignore some sort of persuasive 
communication. The receptor may decide to judge that the 
communication is directed to someone else, or that the commun- 
ication should be regarded as a performance rather than as an 
appeal, or that he is already performing what is being recom- 
mended. Any of these, or other decisions with respect to 
communication, qualify as verdicts made by the receptor. 

One of the verdicts that we often make in classroom 
situations is what to do with the notes we take on the lectures 
that we hear. We recognize that we cannot possibly remember 
all of the things presented to us by the lectures we listen to, so 
we choose to record some of the more important things on paper. 
Then we have to decide what we do with the notes. We are often 
helped by our professors to use those notes at least one more 
time to review for examinations. But after that, we must decide 
whether to store them in our files or not, and if we store them, 
when and how often to consult them. 

If the communication has been of a persuasive nature, such 
as much Christian communication is supposed to be, the receptor 
has to decide whether or not to identify with the communicator 
and if so whether or not to commit himself to the cause of the 
communicator. As I have suggested in previous chapters, the 
ultimate impact of Christian communication is indicated when 
receptors decide to identify with the communicator and to 
commit themselves to his cause. This is the kind of verdict we 
are after as Christian communicators, whether we are speaking 
evangelistically or attempting to bring about great growth 
toward maturity on the part of the receptor. 



The Power of Life Involvement 

The topic that I want to deal with in this chapter is 
something that will, on the one hand, serve as an illustration of 
a number of things that I've said above and on the other hand, 
as a probe into some new areas that are important to us 
as Christian communicators. I'd like to suggest as texts Matthew 
4:19 and John 10:11-15. In Matthew 4:19 (and Mark 2:14; Luke 
5:27, etc.), Jesus says, "Come along with me." The word "follow" 
in many Semitic and related languages implies "come along 
with" or even, "commit yourself to." It is not the kind of thing 
that one would say to a dog to get it to follow. It is a matter 
of commitment. I would then like to pick out of the passage in 
John 10, particularly verses 11-15, the implication that not only 
would the Good Shepherd die for the sheep, but that the Good 
Shepherd would also live for the sheep. I think that is strongly 
implied in the whole section. 

A few years ago I began to ask myself about the commun- 
icational means that we use to bring about the ends that we 
desire. I asked things like, what are we trying to bring about 
through church services ? I concluded that we are trying to bring 
about behavioral change. That is, we want people who are so 
solidly influenced by our message that their behavior is radically 
affected. Whether it is the behavior of people who have not yet 
committed themselves to Christ, or the behavior of those who 
have already started on the road, our aim is to try to deepen and 
broaden their commitment. 

I further asked, what kind of communication methodology 
is appropriate for trying to bring about that type of behavioral 
change? And, if monolog is not the best method for appealing 
for behavioral change, what is it good for? In grappling with 
these questions I began to develop a typolgy of approaches to 
communication in which I try to summarize several elements of 
three approaches to communication. The first approach is the 
monolog approach. The second is the dialog or discussion 
approach. The third approach is what I label "life involvement." 
The following chart outlines the items I discuss below. 


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1. In the above typology the first characteristic to deal 
with is the method of presentation. We all know what monolog 
is. We experience this form of communication as the almost 
exclusive method used in sermons and lectures. Dialog or dis- 
cussion, on the other hand, is more frequently employed in 
situations like Sunday School classes, Bible studies or other 
smaller group experiences. Many situations that look like dialog 
situations are, of course, merely opportunities for a leader to 
monolog. The leader may or may not allow serious discussion 
type interaction on the part of the others in the group. Such a 
situation would fall under the monolog column rather than under 
the dialog/discussion column. 

The third method of presentation, here termed "life 
involvement," may not be as readily understandable as the first 
two, however. What I am thinking of here is a long term 
association between communicator and receptors in a variety of 
life situations, many of which might be quite informal and not 
highly dependent upon verbalization as the only means of 
communication. Discipleship and apprenticeship are examples of 
this kind of communicational method. In discipleship the teacher 
spends long periods of time with his disciples in a wide variety 
of life activity. Jesus and his disciples were together twenty- 
four hours a day for three years. In apprenticeship, an appren- 
tice spends long periods of time with his teacher in a variety of 
work related activities. 

Another illustration of life involvement communication is 
the family. As we grow up within our family we are life involved 
with our parents, with our siblings and not infrequently with a 
variety of other relatives, neighbors and friends. We may or 
may not like everything about the way we have learned to live 
from such life involvement, but the fact is that we have learned 
our lessons well. We have become very much like those with 
whom we have associated. 

The question that I am asking concerning the method of 
presentation is, if we seek to bring about genuine solid, deep, 
behavioral change in the people to whom we try to communicate 
the Christian message, can it be effectively done via monolog? 
Jesus seldom, if ever, monologued. Is it possible He rejected this 
method of communication because He considered it inadequate 
for the purposes that He had in mind? Did he, on the other hand, 
choose life involvement as his method because he knew that this 
was the only adequate method for accomplishing his purpose? 
If so, could it be that we have been misled into depending heavily 


upon a method that the Church has learned more from Greek 
orators than from Jesus? 

2. In the second place I would like to ask, what type of 
message is appropriate to each method of presentation? Though 
we may note that solid behavior change seldom results from 
monolog presentations, we also observe that much of value can 
be accomplished. Perhaps, then, the problem is not so much that 
one method is appropriate in all contexts while the other method 
is never appropriate, as it is that we learn to use each method 
in the context in which each is most appropriate. Indeed, sup- 
pose you have a general message about which there is some 
urgency such as, "Your house is on fire." It would, I think, be 
poor advice to suggest that such a message be presented via 
dialog or life involvement ! Monolog is the proper methd for that 
kind of message. Likewise for a general message such as "Two 
and two are four." Unless you are in the initial stages of teaching 
someone basic addition it is unlikely that a communicator would 
take the time involved to dialog that message either. News broad- 
casts and other presentations of a purely informational nature 
are also effectively presented via monolog. 

If, however, your aim is to affect your receptors at a 
deeper level than simply the information level, it is likely that 
monolog will not adequately serve your purpose, unless, of 
course, what you present via monolog connects strongly with one 
or more of the felt needs of your receptors. In that case, as I 
have pointed out, nearly any method will work because the 
receptor is so anxious for the material presented that he will 
accept it and appropriate it no matter what form it comes in. 
But for situations that go beyond the mere presentation of 
information to receptors who do not have a strong felt need for 
the message, some other approach is likely to be necessary if 
our aim is to bring about some change in the receptor. 

For this purpose we can recommend dialog as an appro- 
priate way to seek to bring about change in the receptors' 
thinking behavior. Dialog, of course, is a type of life involve- 
ment. It is, however, very often quite limited with respect to 
time, place and the extent of the areas within the lives of the 
participants over which involvement takes place. But for 
wrestling with differences in the thinking of the participants, 
dialog might be quite adequate. If, however, the aim of the 
message is to affect the receptors' total behavior, the depth and 
breadth of the change brought about is quite dependent upon 
the ability of the receptor first to realize what is being recom- 


mended and then to imitate it. And this involves what psychol- 
ogists call "modeling." Though it is possible for receptors to 
imagine Christian models or, on occasion, to be able to recall 
previous experiences with such models, the most effective 
modeling comes from live involvement between the communi- 
cator and the receptors. In the preceding chapters I have already 
dealt with many of the aspects of a life involvement approach 
to communicating Christianity. This is, I believe, merely another 
way of talking about an incarnational methodology. 

3. These methods differ with respect to the appropriate 
size of audience. With very large audiences, monolog is perhaps 
the only possibility. It usually does not work very well to attempt 
to dialog with a large group. And life involvement with very 
many is completely out. To some extent, of course, we are life 
involved even when we monolog with a large group. But this is 
in a very minimal way and the few things receptors learn from 
such life involvement with lecturers center largely around getting 
used to the lecturer's style, mannerisms, facial and vocal 
expression and the like. The general rule, then, is large groups 
for monolog, smaller groups for dialog, and still smaller groups 
for life involvement. 

Could Jesus have operated in a life involvement way with 
more than twelve disciples? Probably not. In fact, even with 
dialog the numbers involved cannot be very large. Notice what 
happens to Sunday School classes when the attendance grows 
beyond, say, twenty-five to thirty. If the class continues to use 
a dialog format, the number on the roll may continue to rise but 
the attendance will usually level off at about twenty-five to 
thirty at most. This seems to be the optimum number for dialog 
in our society. If the number attending the class gets to be much 
larger than this, the teacher will ordinarily change to a monolog 
method. Almost invariable, when there are large Sunday 
School classes, they are conducted on a monolog basis. We don't 
seem to be able to handle discussion with more than a small 
number of peole. And with apprenticeship or discipleship, the 
number that can be handled is even smaller. 

4. Our fourth consideration is to ask the question, given 
a certain amount of material to be gotten across, how much 
time would each method require? In a monolog format, it does 
not take very much time to present a fairly large amount of 
information. Note, however, that is it merely information, rather 
than something that is likely to have a greater impact on the 
receptor, that is being presented. I believe that our attachment 


to preaching and lecturing has affected Christianity enormously 
at this point. By using a monolog format so exclusively, we have 
come to treat Christian communication as primarily the passing 
of large amounts of information from communicators to 
receptors. We have come to focus primarily on information that 
we should know in order to be Christians rather than on learning 
a life that is to be lived. I believe this is a serious distortion of 
the Christian message. The amount of crucial information 
involved in Christianity is, I believe, quite small. The amount 
of Christian behavior demanded in response to that information 
is, however, quite large. We have, however, given ourselves to 
a methodology that emphasizes the lesser of the two ingredients. 

Be that as it may, it is clear that a monolog method is better 
at presenting large amounts of information, while a life involve- 
ment method is better at applying smaller amounts of informa- 
tion to larger areas of behavior. Dialog, then, fits somewhere in 
between. The amount of information that can be presented in a 
given amount of time via dialog is not very great, especially 
when campared with monolog. But it is certainly greater than 
is possible with life involvement. 

5. The fifth consideration is a matter of the formality of 
the situation. Though not all monolog situations are extremely 
formal, they tend to be more formal than either dialog or life 
involvement. Life involvement situations, on the other hand, 
tend to be considerably less formal than either of the other two. 
Dialog/discussion situations fall somewhere in between. I will 
not go into further detail concerning the formality of commun- 
icational situations, except to suggest that formality affects 
communicational impact by defining the social distance between 
communicator and receptors. If that social distance is perceived 
by the receptors to be great, that fact will affect the kind and 
nature of the messages at every point. Likewise, if the social 
distance is perceived to be small and the relationship between 
the communicator and receptors perceived to be intimate. 

6. In the sixth place, I would like to raise the matter of 
the perceived character of the communicator. In general, the 
greater the social distance entailed in the communicational 
situation, the more important the reputation of the communi- 
cator is to that situation. When deciding whether or not to 
attend a lecture, we are greatly concerned with whether that 
person has the credentials, the reputation to enable him to deal 
with the topic in a helpful way. Advertisements for lectures, 
therefore, focus strongly on the credentials of the lecturer. In 


such formalized situations, there is little opportunity for the 
receptors to assess for themselves the overall credibility of the 
communicator, except as he deals with that subject in that 
situation. It is highly desirable, therefore, that the trust level 
of the audience already be high before the communicator makes 
his presentation. 

In dialog, and especially in life involvement situations, there 
is much more opportunity for receptors to make their own 
assessment of the communicator's ability. Though it is still 
desireable for the communicator to be perceived as credible and 
trustworthy going into the communicational situation, there is 
much more opportunity for receptors to modify their original 
opinions of the communicator in more intimate communicational 
situations. Often, for example, receptors go away from a lecture 
situation with essentially the same attitude toward the speaker 
with which they started. In more intimate situations, however, 
receptors are often much more impressed with the communi- 
cator, both with respect to his subject matter and with respect 
to himself/herself as a person. On the other hand, students 
exposed to teachers over small periods of time in classroom 
situations are often quite impressed with their teachers as long 
as their exposure is limited to those formalized situations. If, 
however, a student gets to know his teacher in other areas of 
life, he may discover some things about that teacher that cause 
him to revise his opinion downward, even to the point is discount- 
ing the validity of the things communicated by the teacher in 
the classroom. This of course, quite often works the other way 
as well, especially with respect to teachers who might not be 
particularly effective in formalized classroom situations who 
happen to be outstanding persons overall. 

7. In monolog situations, furthermore, the focus of the 
participants is squarely on the source, with the message also 
in focus but to a lesser extent. Receptors are much less in focus. 
The chairs are set up in such a way that everyone faces the 
communicator. All eyes are on the front of the room. It is 
expected that people will sit quietly and take all of their cues 
from the speaker rather than from anyone or anything else in 
the room 

In a dialog situation, on the other hand, there is often an 
attempt to arrange the furniture in a circle, down playing the 
importance of the leader to some extent. The discussion, then, 
will focus on grappling with the subject by means of a lively 
interchange between leader and receptors. Thus the message 


comes into greater prominence as do the receptors, while the 
prominence of the communicator diminishes a bit in comparison 
to his prominence in a monolog situation. In life involvement, 
then, it is the needs of the receptors that come strongly into 
focus. The activity of the communicator and the nature of the 
messages are bent to the meeting of the particular needs of the 
receptors. In Jesus' case, though he was in complete control at 
all times, the choice of the subjects with which he dealt and the 
manner in terms of which he dealt with them shows a strong 
primary focus on meeting the needs of his followers. 

8. As I have pointed out in chapter three, receptors are 
not inactive. In a monolog situation, however, receptors tend to 
be considerably less active than in discussion and life involve- 
ment situations. When we listen to lectures or sermons, we 
basically just sit there. Things are going on in our minds and, 
at least in classroom situations, we may be taking notes. But 
our activity is often the more mechanical activity of simply 
ingesting the material as it is presented, rather than the more 
demanding activity of considering the material in relation to 
our total life experience with a view toward incorporating it into 
our lives. It is that kind of activity, however, that discussion 
and life involvement communication forces us into. This is why 
many people dislike more intimate communicational situations 
where they will be forced to answer questions or in other ways 
to indicate the kind of deep level interaction with the material 
that is going on within their minds and hearts. They consider 
such a process too threatening to be comfortable. 

9. Given the fact that in every communicational situation 
there is a multiplicity of messages being sent, we ask, in the 
ninth place, what the level of consciousness of the main message 
might be in each of these approaches to communication. In a 
monolog situation, of course, the intention of the communicator 
is that the main message will be strongly in focus. And, unless 
he/she acts in such a way as to distract from the main message, 
or unless something else distracting happens while he is present- 
ing that message it is likely that that message will be in primary 
focus. If, however, the communicator breaks some rules by, say, 
standing too close to certain of the members of his audience, or 
by belching during the course of his presentation or by wander- 
ing around the room during the presentation, it will be these 
strange things rather than the main message that will be 


In discussion situations, and particularly in life involvement 
situations, however, the messages communicated regularly go 
far beyond the main message. Messages concerning the openness 
of the communicator, his kindness, his patience, his ability to 
deal with problems that he may not have anticipated, his ability 
to integrate the things about which he speaks into his own life, 
and similar messages are often strongly communicated along 
with the main message. Indeed, for many of the receptors the 
way in which the communication is dealt with becomes a more 
important message than the primary topic itself. Not 
infrequently, then, these additional messages, technically known 
as "paramessages," cancel out much or all of the main message. 
This leads, then, to responses such as, "Your life speaks so 
loudly, I can't hear what you're saying." 

In life involvement, it is often the tone of voice or the timing 
of the message that indicates to the receptor that the most 
important message is not the one being verbalized. Often, for 
example, a sharp or angry response has more to do with the 
communicator's discomfort than with the receptor's needs. Such 
a situation is indicated, for example, by the reported response 
of a bright child when her mother told her to go to bed. Her 
response was, "Mommy, how come when you get tired, I have 
to go to bed?" The mother might well have felt that she was 
communicating only the "go to bed" message. But the perceptive 
child picked up a paramessage that was probably more accurate 
as an explanation of the situation than the message that the 
mother wanted to be in focus. In life involvement, then, what is 
communicated goes far beyond what might be regarded as the 
main message. 

10. Learning is highly dependent upon what is termed 
"reinforcement." That is, messages that we hear once and never 
again tend to be crowded out by messages that we hear over 
and over again in a variety of ways and applied to a variety of 
contexts. Our tenth point is, therefore, a consideration of the 
opportunity for reinforcement and the consequent likelihood that 
the receptor will retain the messages presented via each of these 
approaches. The monolog approach, of course, due to such fac- 
tors as the generality of the messages, the large amounts of 
information involved, and the small amount of interpersonal 
contact between communicator and receptors, provides little 
opportunity for the messages to be reinforced and is, therefore, 
likely to result in low retention on the part of the receptor. 
Dialog provides considerably more opportunity for reinforcement 


and, therefore, much more likelihood of retention. Life involve- 
ment, then, is especially adapted to provide large amounts of 
reinforcement and to result in correspondingly large amounts 
of retention. Note, for example, what happens to reinforcement 
and retention when, after a lecture, the audience engages in a 
lively discussion with the communicator concerning certain of 
his points. The communicator, then, has opportunity to illustrate, 
to explain, and to apply certain of his points much more fully. 
Receptors will typically respond to such a situation by indicating 
that they now have a much higher level of understanding than 
they obtained from the lecture. If, then, a certain few of those 
who listened to the lecture and participated in the discussion 
are able to spend long periods of informal time with the lecturer, 
perhaps even living with him for awhile, his ability to reinforce 
his message and their ability to retain are increased enormously. 
Pastors should know that the ability of their hearers to retain 
messages presented in their sermons is substantially increased 
by visitation and other informal techniques designed to increase 
a life involvement relationship between themselves and their 

11. Feedback and the opportunity of the communicator 
to adjust his message on the basis of it is of great importance in 
the process of communication. There is, of course, little oppor- 
tunity for feedback in a monolog situation, more opportunity in 
a discussion situation and a maximum opportunity in a life 
involvement situation. An audience who perceives that the com- 
municator has chosen the wrong message in a monolog situation 
may, therefore, have little opportunity to let him know in hopes 
that he might adjust. In a life involvement situation, on the other 
hand, there is maximum opportunity for the hearers to get such 
a message back to the communicator and a high likelihood that 
if the communicator does not make the proper adjustments, his 
audience will leave him. Indeed, the formal nature of most 
monolog situations is often the only thing that keeps the audi- 
ence from completely dissipating. 

12. All of this has great implications for the amount of 
discovery learning that the receptors may engage in. As I have 
suggested above, discovery learning is the most impactful kind 
and the kind that Jesus employed. Monolog, of course, empha- 
sizes the predigestion of the message at the expense of discovery 
on the part of the receptors. Life involvement, on the other hand, 
specializes in leading the receptors to discovery. Discussion is 
somewhere between these two extremes. In dialog and life 


involvement situations especially, and to a lesser extent in 
response to certain sermons and lectures, we find people saying, 
"Wow, I haven't thought of that before." Such comments are an 
indication of discovery learning. We find the disciples making 
comments like that throughout their experience with Jesus. 

13. The primary type of identificational process is the 
thirteenth characteristic in our typology. In a monolog approach 
it seems as though the source attempts to identify primarily 
with his/her message and perhaps to a lesser extent with the 
receptors. In dialog, on the other hand, the identification seems 
to be more reciprocal between communicator and receptor, 
though often primarily at the idea level. Life involvement, then, 
involves reciprocal identification between source and receptor at 
a highly personal level and over the whole of their lives. In 
terms of what I have said above, concerning the importance of 
the receptors may be to identify with the communicator, it is 
easy to see the superiority of dialog and life involvement as 
communicational techniques. I will suggest below certain mod- 
ifications that can be made in monolog presentations to over- 
come the more disastrous possibilities of that approach in this 

14. All of this leads to an assessment of the communica- 
tional impact on receptors of communication employing each of 
these approaches. The impact via monolog is likely to be quite 
low unless one or both of the following situations exist: (a) The 
felt needs of the receptors for the material being presented are 
high, or (b) the communicator makes the kind of adjustments 
in his presentation that I speak about below. Dialog communi- 
cation, on the other hand, has high potential for impact at least 
on people's thinking behavior. Life involvement, then, has the 
potential for maximum impact on the total behavior of the 

In employing sermons, lectures, or the kind of written 
medium that I am employing here, we count on at least certain 
members of our audiences coming to the situation with a need 
for what we are presenting. Our ability to communicate effec- 
tively to them, then, is highly dependent upon our ability to 
guess where their felt needs lie. Sometimes, of course, we guess 
very well. On other occasions, however, our guesses may be quite 
wide of the mark. Certain communicators, furthermore, seem 
to be either unconcerned or unable to guess well at any time. 
Others, happily, seem to be able to regularly transcend the 
probability factors in their ability to communicate effectively 


via monolog. Some of the reasons for this may lie in the factors 
that I discuss below. 

15. I ask, therefore, as point fifteen, what the appropriate 
expectation should be in our use of these three approaches. It 
seems that if our aim is simply to increase the knowledge of 
the receptors, that monolog is the appropriate method. If, how- 
ever, we seek to solidly influence the thinking of our receptors, 
we should use a dialog/discussion method. Influencing total be- 
havior, however, demands much more total life involvement than 
either of the other methods affords. As I have mentioned before, 
monolog can be effectively used much like a display in a store 
window, to alert people to the good things that await them once 
they get beyond that display. Monolog is also good at bringing 
people to make decisions that they have been considering for a 
long time. Monolog can, furthermore, be usefully employed to 
support people in decisions that they have already made. This is 
probably the major function that sermonizing serves in our 
churches and over the mass media. Studies of the use of sermons 
via radio and television point out, however, that very few people 
who do not already agree with the communicator either listen to 
the presentation or have their opinions affected by them. And 
those who do have their opinions changed via mass media are al- 
most always those whose felt needs predispose them to be posi- 
tive toward the kind of change there advocated. Even then, how- 
ever, the durability of the opinion change is highly dependent 
upon the„ continued reinforcement of a group of like-minded 
people. This is one of the primary functions of the church within 
Christianity. Monolog does, however, enable us to present large 
amounts of information in a relatively efficient way. The 
church's over-dependence on monolog has, however, as I have 
indicated above, led us into what I regard as a serious heresy — 
the heresy of regarding Christian orthodoxy as primarily a 
matter of correct thinking, rather than a matter of correct 
behavior. This has, I believe, even led many evangelicals to 
unconsciously advocate a kind of "salvation by knowledge" 
doctrine in place of what Scripture teaches — salvation by 

Dialog, too, can be a primarily intellectual knowledge kind 
of thing. Even though the method may be superior communica- 
tionally, if the content is purely cognitive, we may still have 
botched the message that we are called to communicate. With 
life involvement, however, it is much more difficult to present 
a purely cognitive message, since the overall message presented 


via this means relates so thoroughly to all of life. This method, 
therefore, provides a considerable corrective to the intellec- 
tualizing of the Christian message, provided our example is a 
properly Christian one. The contrast that I am getting at 
between the kinds of messages via these methods was nicely 
pointed out to me by an African who said, "You Euro-Americans 
are primarily concerned with intellectual heresy. We Africans 
are more concerned with interpersonal heresy." I think what 
he was getting at is at the heart of the Scriptural message — 
that the real Christian message lies in the behavior of the 
messenger rather than in his words. Christians who behave as 
Christians relate in Christian ways to other people, whether or 
not these people agree with them intellectually. Euro-American 
Christianity, however, has turned so completely to a concern for 
knowledge, information and doctrine, that it frequently occurs 
that we defend our doctrine at the expense of relating to even 
fellow Christians in a Christian way. It is my feeling, therefore, 
that even a discussion of the communicational techniques that 
we employ should lead us into a critical evaluation of the actual 
message that our receptors perceive us to be advocating. 

What if One is Limited to Monolog? 

Having considered all of these things with respect to the 
ideal way to communicate the message to which we are 
committed, I began to ask myself if there is anything that we 
can do to increase the effectiveness of our communication in 
situations where monolog is the only method available to us. 
That is, suppose I find myself in a church situation or even a 
classroom situation, or even worse in a situation where I must 
attempt to communicate via writing, can I make any adjustments 
that will increase the impact of my communication while 
minimizing the less desireable characteristics of the medium that 
I employ? The answer that I came to was that there is indeed 
much that can be done to bring our audiences to experience more 
of the kind of impact that characterizes dialog and life involve- 
ment communication, even when we are limited to monolog 
presentations. Though, for example, monolog interaction does 
not permit a high degree of life involvement between commun- 
icator and receptors, it is possible to increase the amount of such 
involvement and thereby to increase the communicational impact. 

I have suggested that the above chart of approaches to 
communication presents us with a kind of scale with monolog 


at one end of the scale and life involvement at the other end. If, 
therefore, we look at certain of the items on that chart, we will 
discover that at least certain of the characteristics of dialog 
and life involvement can be approximated in a monolog situa- 
tion. If this is done, then, at least certain of the numbers of our 
audiences may be able to fill in the gaps and by imagining 
themselves in a full life involvement situation with us to get 
beyond the more crippling effects of formalized monolog. 

If, for example, at point 2 on the chart, the communicator 
refrains from presenting simply general messages and 
makes his messages more specific to the actual lives of his 
receptors, he is likely to increase the impact of his presentation. 
This will, of course, mean that he will need to take more time 
in his presentations, dealing with a smaller amount of material 
(see point 4) rather than the smaller amount of time dealing 
with larger amounts of material that often characterizes 
monolog presentations. He will illustrate his points more fully 
and, in keeping with point 6 and much of the material presented 
in chapters one and two concerning identification, let his 
receptors hear considerably more about his own personal experi- 
ence than is often done in monolg. 

This will, of course, involve the reduction of the formality of 
the situation (point 5). Even though the method of presentation 
is monologic, the speaker may come across more as one who is 
conducting a conversation, one who is participating with his 
hearers not only in verbalizing, but even in other areas of life. 
He may, as is frequently the case in conversations, reduce his 
material to a single point which he wraps in true to life illustra- 
tions, many of which relate to his own personal experience. I 
have been exposed to one preacher who did this extremely well. 
He never had more than one point but he illustrated it in a 
variety of ways and from a variety of perspectives. Because 
those illustrations bring about a kind of pseudo-life involvement, 
we found it very easy to get wrapped up in what the speaker 
was communicating and to get beyond such superficial charac- 
teristics of the communicational situation as the speaker's 
reputation and his focus on his message (point 7). I remember 
feeling frequently that I and I alone was in focus. I, furthermore, 
found myself getting much more involved (point 8) in the appli- 
cation of what the speaker was saying to my own experience 
and the integration of his perspectives into my perspective. 
Jesus, of course, did this very well when he used true to life 
stories that we call parables. 


Now, we should be warned that not all decrease of formality 
and increase of the personalness of the communicator auto- 
matically increases the impact of communication. Often such 
breaking of the rules can be taken quite badly by the receptors. 
Say, for example, the communicator stands on the pulpit rather 
than standing behind it. His receptors might take this quite 
badly. Or, for example, suppose the communicator is not careful 
about the personal things that he reveals concerning himself. 
He might in public reveal intimate details that are considered 
quite inappropriate in public and thereby seriously hinder the 
communication. Or, suppose he is perceived to be showing off 
his ability to tell clever stories rather than enhancing his 
message by means of these stories. His communication is likely 
to be seriously hindered thereby or, at least, the message that 
is actually communicated may be something quite different from 
the message that he supposedly intended. If a communicator is 
psychologically insecure, for example, he may latch onto some 
of the techniques that I am recommending as means of enhancing 
his own prestige rather than enhancing the communication of 
the message. 

A further adaptation that can often be made is to increase 
the effectiveness of the feedback and adjustment process (point 
11). Some speakers are quite effective in raising questions that 
the audience is generally concerned with. A speaker may say, 
for example, something like, "You are probably asking concern- 
ing this subject such and such a question." If he has hit on a 
question that his audience actually is asking, they will say to 
themselves, "Sure enough, I am asking that question. I wonder 
what he is going to say about it." So the involvement of the 
receptor is increased (point 8) by the communicator's setting up 
of a fictitious though realistic feedback situation. Or, the 
communicator might elicit actual feedback by asking a question 
that the audience will answer. This technique may be less 
feasible in a preaching situation, particularly on Sunday morning. 
However, not infrequently it is possible to raise questions that 
the audience can answer with a nod of the head or a shake of 
the head rather than verbally. Often, furthermore, it is possible 
for a communicator to develop a sensitivity to the feedback that 
his hearers send via the expressions on their faces or other 
gestures to such an extent that he can respond by adjusting his 
message on the spot. Some communicators even plant people in 
the audience to provide such feedback for them. Pastors wives 
are often good at this. 


In monolog situations we may also increase the possibility 
of discovery (point 12). Sometimes it is a good idea for us to 
ask questions that we don't even intend to answer directly. In 
this way we may stimulate people to think about these questions 
and to go out and grapple with them on their own. Jesus very 
often did this. Sometimes, furthermore, he would answer a 
question with another question. Even this might be possible in 
certain monolog presentations. Often via a series of monolog 
presentations it may be possible to lead people into discovery 
of a new perspective. Questions relating to the adequacy of the 
old perspective and pointed illustrations demonstrating the 
greater adequacy of the new perspective can play an important 
part in leading people to this kind of discovery. 

These techniques, and probably several others that I have 
not mentioned, can do much to bring about the right kind of 
identification between the receptor and the communicator (point 
13). As I have pointed out in chapters one and two, commun- 
icational impact is directly related to the ability of the receptor 
to identify with the source. As I have mentioned, self-exposure 
on the part of the communicator is often crucial to bringing 
about such "reverse identification." When people in the audience 
can say, "He may be a preacher (or teacher, etc.), but he is just 
like me," the potential impact of even monolog communication 
can be increased enormously. Or, if a significant number of those 
in the audience have entered into life involvement experiences 
with the communicator (even, for example, on the golf course), 
the effectiveness of material presented via monolog can be 
enhanced. When the communicator is known as a human being, 
rather than simply a reputation (point 6), even monolog com- 
munication can be very effective because it then becomes a part 
of a total life involvement. 

In summary, it has been my intent in this and the preceding 
chapters to advocate incarnational, life involvement commun- 
ication as the right way to go for Christian communicators. I 
have attempted to develop this point from the perspective of 
communication theory, on the one hand, and from the example 
of God through Christ on the other. I have generalized to a 
considerable extent in order to cover a large amount of material 
in a fairly short presentation. I have, furthermore, employed a 
technique that is more like those techniques that I do not 
recommend than it is like those that I do recommend. I have, for 
the sake of getting some of these ideas across to a wider 
audience, employed techniques that I recognized to be less 


effective than techniques that would involve person to person 
life involvement between myself and you as the receptors. 
Nevertheless, I am in hopes that the felt heeds that exist within 
you will make it possible for at least some of this material to 
be useful to you. 


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